Gail asked for a relationship coaching session, but said she would come by herself. “My husband won’t come”, she said. No matter what I asked her, her answer was related to the fact her husband was depressed and was unwilling to help himself. He had lost his job years before and that had sucked the life out of him. For 5 years, he had been sucking the life out of Gail and her two wonderful boys.
Having a depressed family member is not easy to handle. Most of the time, the depressed person cannot admit he or she needs help and rejects any help attempt. Those around them feel helpless and drained.
Gail was very creative in her attempts to help her husband. She went to the doctor and talked to him. She tried to make him go to the doctor, without success. She got him some vitamins and he refused to take them. She arranged holidays to make him happy, but he stayed depress.
“What happened with the boys?” I asked.
“They left. For five years, we didn’t have a life. Everything revolved around him. Everything we did was done to please him. He was unhappy with everything we did and with what we didn’t do. We had no friends left. No one was willing to come to our house and those who dared only did it once. Every second around him was fighting and complaining, so they gave up and left”.
Gail’ sons were 18 and 21, both studied at university and had to support themselves. Their dad was so unhappy with their move he did not “allow” their mom to see them.
Helping a depressed person is not easy, especially when he or she is an adult. Adults must choose to accept help and we cannot force them to receive our help.
Eventually, after 5 years of trying, Gail left home.
Her moving out was very effective. Not having Gail and the boys around helped her husband understand he had a problem.
Most of our sessions were spent on managing the process of going back home. The most effective tip I gave her was to use are. I introduced her to a research about depression and art and that worked like magic.
I hope it will help you too.
A research done in Norway with over 50,000 people using blood tests, urine tests, interviews, questionnaires and clinical examinations discovered that art can successfully fight depression. “There is a positive relationship between cultural participation and self-perceived health for both women and men”, says Professor Jostein Holmen.
The researches claim, “Up to now, physical activity has been recognized as a measure that promotes good health. But our study shows that other daily life activities may promote good health from a holistic point of view. The results suggest that the use of cultural activities in health promotion and health care may be justified”.
The research found that people who were exposed to art feel healthier overall. If they see music concerts, painting or sculpture and visit galleries, they are healthier and happier and less depressed then others. If they make art themselves by playing a musical instrument, singing, painting, sculpting and dancing, the results were even better.
The surprising thing was the results were true for all participants, regardless of their lifestyle and socio-economic background.
Gail’s husband loved carpentry. He had not dealt with the loss of his job properly and had not touched his tools since he had stopped working. When Gail came back home, she encouraged him to take is tools out and build a drawer for the living room.
Three month later, the boys came back home.
Have a happy day,
P.S. If you ever need a reason to encourage your children to engage in artistic activities or a reason to visit a gallery or go to the theater, you know it now. Art makes you happy!
This post is part of the series From the Life Coaching Deck:
- Choosing the Right Career Path for Your Kids
- If-then Parenting Style
- How to Help Your Kid Drive
- The Meaning of Life
- Hyperactive Kids
- Secret Demons
- Making Money Addiction
- Art Fights Depression
- Trust Your Healing Powers
- The Want Muscle
- Abusive Parenting Cycle
- Learning to Want
- Don’t Put Labels on Kids
- Stop Making More Money
- There Are No Hopeless Teens
- How to Have a Good Day Everyday
- No More Disappointment: The Biggest Loser Leads the Dance