Everyone dreams of meeting their soul mate. Our brains actually encourage us to fall in love when we meet someone who we connect with by increasing the production of the hormone oxytocin, also known as the love hormone. Oxytocin production increases early on in a relationship and enhances the feelings associated with finding new love.
Eventually the relationship evolves, the honeymoon phase passes and each person’s true personality begins to surface. It’s normal for minor disagreements to turn into major agreements, however, it’s not normal for intense arguing to become a daily occurrence.
Men and women process their emotions differently, but can experience the same thoughts when in an unhealthy relationship.
Early warning signs of depression include feeling depressed whenever it’s time to spend time with your mate. Feeling betrayed, isolated and alone. Feeling like you are losing your identity and losing focus on pursuing your dreams. Feeling helpless and like your mate is constantly trying to change you. Feeling like you can no longer enjoy the things you used to enjoy due to the fear of upsetting your mate. Feeling the compulsion to explain your actions to your mate to prevent them from having a tantrum. Having little or no appetite or the opposite, constantly overeating.
Overtime these thoughts can manifest into a form of a mild or major depression, however, they can often be masked by the psychological defense mechanism known as rationalization. Defense mechanisms are designed to protect our egos and by rationalizing your mate’s negative behaviors you are allowing yourself to find a reason to stay in the relationship.
When is it time to get help?
When the feeling of depression begins to dominate your thoughts and you feel like there is a battle going on in your head to try to maintain your sanity. On a more extreme side, you should immediately seek help from a professional if you are having thoughts of suicide, because death feels like the only way out of the relationship.
Couples counseling can be helpful if you feel as though the relationship can be salvaged and your feelings are not a result of domestic violence. Couples counseling can be a way for each person to learn how to express themselves more effectively with the help of an unbiased professional. Additionally, it may also be a time to reflect on your faith and seek comfort from your higher power.
If you have tried everything to resolve the issues in the relationship and still find yourself feeling unhappy, it may be time to walk away from it. Take the time to compare the pros and cons of staying with the pros and cons of leaving. If the pros for leaving outweigh the cons for leaving then it’s time to move on.
While it is true that depression is a chemical imbalance that effect an individual on so many different levels, a person may begin to experience some relief from their symptoms when they identify the root cause of them and develop a plan to address them.
MacGill, M. (2015, September 21). “Oxytocin: What is it and what does it do?.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/275795.php.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Major Depressive Disorder and the “Bereavement Exclusion” [Fact Sheet].