Depression can have a huge effect on your relationships. When you were depressed, you may have avoided or pushed away the people you love. Now that you're feeling better, you may not know how to get things back to normal.
Here are some things to consider when you are recovering from depression.
Does this depressing conversation sound like the one you have with yourself sometime between Thanksgiving and New Year's, year after year?
"I didn't take off that 15 pounds."
"I didn’t make as much money as I said I would."
"I didn't get that promotion or switch jobs."
While some people look forward to New Year’s parties and resolutions, others dread this traditional time to take stock and look back on the past year’s accomplishments – or lack thereof.
If you're mildly or moderately...
Stay connected. During your depression, you may have isolated yourself. Sometimes when people are depressed they just stay at home alone and stop picking up the phone. But now that you're feeling better, it's important to reconnect to your friends and family. Don't let your relationships fade away -- the support of your loved ones is crucial to staying well. If you're nervous, start slowly. Just call a friend and ask to meet for a quick visit, maybe for a cup of coffee. Or get together for a walk. You may find that talking about what you've been through will help you feel better while you are recovering.
Ask for help. Readjusting to your life can be tricky. So ask your loved ones for help. While you may worry about being a burden, the fact is that your friends and family may actually want to help -- but they may just not know what to do. Help doesn't just mean only emotional support. You might need a hand with practical chores like shopping or watching the kids.
Reassure your children. If you have children, they may have been frightened and confused when you were depressed. Now is the time to explain what happened. Discuss it in terms that they can understand. Explain that you were sick but that you're getting help and feeling better.
Set boundaries. After you've been depressed, the people around you are likely to be worried that you'll become depressed again. Their concern is understandable. But it's important to set limits -- so they aren't monitoring your every move. For instance, if your family becomes alarmed every single time you get angry or upset, you're going to get frustrated. Explain that while you appreciate their concern, you need them to give you some space. In return, they might want assurance that you will reach out if you really do need their help.
Be open about sexual issues.Depression -- and sometimes the related treatment -- can have a big impact on your sex drive or performance. This is very common and nothing to be ashamed of. You and your partner should talk openly about it. If you ignore the problem, you may just make things worse. Also, don't be afraid to talk with your doctor. If your medication is affecting your sex drive, your doctor may be able to change your prescription or recommend other medicines that may counteract sexual side effects.