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My Wife is Depressed. Should I help her to Toughen Up or Just Be There for her?

Sun, Feb 3rd 2008

I just got married to my wife, and I love her to death. She's the answer to my life, and in complete perspective, we are both very happy. However, she's been getting quite depressed lately. There are two factors contributing to it: 1) she suffers from psoriasis, and 2) she gave her first child up for adoption about 9 months ago. Here are the two different factors from each of our perspectives:

Psoriasis.

Her: She is embarrassed and feels unattractive. She also feels helpless and is worried the psoriasis won't ever go away (she is currently experiencing the worst outbreak she's ever had). We are newlyweds and don't have sex as much because she feels so gross.

Me: I love her just as much with the psoriasis. I truly hardly even notice it when I am touching and/or looking at her. She's just as beautiful as ever. I would be able to move on and accept the skin condition if it so happens that it'll never go away. Should I expect her to be embarrassed about it? Or should she toughen up and realize there's nothing she can do about it?

The adoption.

Her: She feels the sensitivity to the subject will never go away. At nights, she often cries out loud when she hears (from the adoptive parents) how Ellie (the baby's name) is growing up and learning to do all these new things. It hurts her to see other people around us have babies and have so much joy with it. She knows the adoption was the right choice, but she still strongly longs for her daughter. She breaks down about once or twice a week. She feels she should vent away when she's feeling down and just let it all out - that there's a grieving process that she needs to continually go through - that if she doesn't let it out, one day it'll explode.

Me: I'm not Ellie's father, but she is the cutest little thing ever. She lives several hours away, but I've been able to meet her and the adoptive parents (who, both my wife and I agree, are absolutely wonderful). I can understand my wife's feelings - I can't imagine what it's like to give up a child (let alone your first). However, I think she should be trying to get over it instead of dwelling on her feelings (trying to promote the grieving process). Is it good to try to distance herself from things that are going to bring back the memories? Or should she embrace her memories and continue grieving? For example, Ellie's birthday is in a couple months, and my wife wants to take a couple days off for it. Shouldn't she just try and move on with her life? Or is she ok doing that? Anyways, I don't want to go on the show or anything. I'm just looking for answers. It hurts me to see her cry and not be able to cope with this. She's a happy person. That's one reason I love her. I want to tell her to toughen up on it all so she doesn't cry and dwell on the sad feelings. But maybe I should just be there for her and allow her to continue in her depression... What do you think?

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