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Motivation through Depression

answered 05:40 PM EST, Sat August 31, 2013
anonymous anonymous
I have an idea to help my wife that I would like your opinion on. Here is the idea. Setting your house thermostat very low as a way to help someone with depression? My wife has depression and a big part of it for her is feeling not able to get motivated to get out of the house to do things she enjoys. We have actually talked about this and she knows that if she gets out and does something rewarding it actually helps but even still she can’t make herself do it when she is feeling depressed and when she feels like this I can’t make her either. This is very frustrating for me to watch her slide down when I know that it would help to get out into the fresh air but she just won’t. So the idea would be to make the house not very comfortable to stay in to encourage her to get out during the daytime and do things. I would lock the blankets up in a chest and keep the key on me at work. I can acknowledge that this seems a little crazy but necessary. But here’s the big question. Suppose my wife agrees that this is a good idea to try for a trial period of time, like a week. If she can decide anytime that she doesn’t want the house to be cold someday when she is not feeling up to facing the world and just wants to stay on the couch then the experiment will not work. But on the other hand I do not want to get her very upset on some day that she really can’t get out and face the world and I am more or less forcing her out. Do you think this idea is too risky?

Loren Gelberg-Goff Says...

You are certainly thinking outside the box and I commend your creativity. I might suggest, however, something that would not cause you both additional stress. I am not sure where you live or what temperatures we're talking about in terms of household temps, so I don't know if adjusting a thermostat would negate the efforts you are talking about. Does your wife have friends who are around during the day who can be called into assistance? I would ask friends to each take a day to show up at the house to go out with your wife. If friends are not available on a regular basis and your wife is really spending days home alone, then I would investigate local volunteer organizations where she can either volunteer,or have volunteers come to pick her up to bring her to a center where she can either participate in activities, receive counseling, participate in support groups, etc.

I don't know how severe your wife's depression is and if she has been evaluated by a mental health professional. There are non medication treatment modalities that might be beneficial for her as well. If you haven't done so already, you can explore neurofeedback, Emotional Freedom Technique, hypnotherapy, as well as mindfulness-based therapy. Acupuncture is also a possibility for dealing with depression.   

I appreciate the efforts you are putting forth to help your wife, and I hope that you, also are getting support for yourself. It is very stressful living with someone who is depressed (or who has any chronic dis-ease) and you as the care-giver need support to maintain your own mental, emotional and physical health. Look for local support groups, workshops, organizations (NAMI) that can provide the help you so richly deserve.

Additionally, there are a number of books available that can be helpful to both you and your wife. I really like Louise Hay's You Can Heal Your Life and the work by Byron Katie.  I do hope that this gives you some additional ideas and help as you move forward in your search to help your wife through this difficult time. Please contact me if I can be of further assistance.

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Page last updated Aug 31, 2013

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