Thanksgiving is next month, and as the holidays approach, you may find your spouse is a bit off.  This is common, especially when someone is unhappy and therefore isn’t feeling the holiday spirit.  Here are 7 common signs that you need to have a talk about what is going on with your partner:
1. Easily Irritated– someone who is unhappy is not at ease, and therefore becomes easily set off by the slightest of things.  If no matter what you do, that person is constantly set off by what you do, this is a clear sign that something is wrong.
2. Sleeps A Lot- depressed people have a tendency to sleep a lot, it is a way of shutting down and not dealing with the outside world.
3. Avoidance– if your partner keeps staying late at the office and tells you to do your own thing, that is a clear indication that s/he is pulling away from you, and perhaps others.  Unhappy people tend to disengage from others, or at least situations that they believe are causing them discomfort.
4. Lost Sense of Humor– if you feel like your spouse has lost his/her sense of humor, don’t dismiss that feeling.  Pay close attention.  Is that person at least smiling on a regular basis, and is it genuine?  It is hard to fake being happy 24/7.
5. Lack of intimacy– there is no stronger way to connect with someone than by being intimate, so if your partner has lost interest in being together this is a clear sign that s/he is unhappy about something.
6. Lack of plans/gifts– It is hard to make plans for the future or buy gifts for others when you are upset about the current state of affairs.
7. Deterioration in Self Care– If someone has suddenly lost or gained a lot of weight (as in 12 lbs or more) this may be an indicator that the individual is not taking good care of him or herself.  People that are depressed also have a tendency to self-medicate, including an increase in drug or alcohol intake to numb the pain.
Ultimately, an unhappy partner may be unaware of his/her behaviors and lack enough insight to seek help or admit something is wrong.  They may deny that they are depressed, or become belligerent and shift the blame to the others.  Some become stuck in a negative loop, and what you need to focus on is how this is affecting you and/or your children.  You cannot keep walking on eggshells– it simply isn’t healthy for anyone.
It is not easy to talk to someone you love about their mental health, but either that person will hear what you have to say and will want to make a change, or they will deny that they have any issues, at which point you need to acknowledge that the person you once fell in love with is not the same and figure out a way to preserve your own sanity and happiness.
By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.