Living with a depressed partner is not easy. Depression makes your partner seem distant, which puts a strain on your relationship. You may be lonely and overwhelmed by a pile of household chores because your partner is too lethargic to finish it. Resent your partner won’t make everything better. Or if you blame yourself for the disease being a third party in your relationship. A depressed partner does not mean that your relationship is the root of the problem. If depression is a thorn in your relationship, it’s time for you to act – for both your partner and for yourself.
WeStressFree will share some tips on how to help your loved one with depression.
10 Things to Help Your Partner Cope With Depression
Depression in relationships
When one partner is depressed, this condition can certainly cause the relationship to become tense. Living with a depressed partner can make you unhappy.
Dr. Jay Baer, a psychiatrist in the department of psychiatry at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said that the depression intensity is varied from one person to another, but it has characteristics that can leave a huge impact on the relationship.
However, depression does not always break up relationships. Some actually make it a challenge you face together.
Here are suggestions you can do when your partner is suffering from depression.
How can you help a partner with depression?
Often a healthy partner will be the main star in this “rescue step.” The depression itself prevents the person from admitting that they are sick or refusing to seek help. They may feel too hopeless or burdensome to others, or they may think they can treat it themselves. These steps can help you support your partner to overcome the depression they are facing.
Depression can occur slowly. Depression symptoms also look different in men and women. So it may take some time to see the pattern change or be ready to accept depression as a possible cause.
But you know your partner the best inside and out. If you notice your partner shows emotional turmoil or their thought patterns are unusual, you should ask yourself if these could be symptoms of depression. But don’t stop there. Depression may be the reason why your partner works long hours of overtime, starts drinking alcohol, or falls on drugs.
2. Don’t wait until your partner is down
Allowing a depressed person to drown before offering help is wrong. Severe depression will be more difficult to deal with, easier to relapse, and will harm your relationship going forward. Waiting also increases the likelihood that your relationship will not last. The presence of depression in a relationship increases the risk of separation up to nine times.
Also, the longer you live with a depressed partner, the higher your risk for developing depression as well. A depressed partner can sink deeper, making it more difficult to finally deal with depression. Depression that gets worse and not treated will increase the risk of alcohol addiction, drug abuse, violence, and even suicide. About 60 percent of people who attempt suicide experience major depression – and depressed men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women.
Love has the power to heal everything. If your partner is having a bad day, let them know you care by showing them more love. It may feel difficult to do this when they have a relapse and are taking out the negativity on you, but it is the time when they need more love and attention.
There’s no need to bombard them with expensive gifts or ruffled words. Just show them your care and affection with simple gestures that speak to them.
I mean, if you know they value loving words more than physical touch, tell them – “I love you”; “What are you doing today?” “Want me to grab you some pizza?” etc. Show them what unconditional love means.
4. Take them to the doctor
Dealing with a partner who is depressed and in denial is not easy. But, by not overcoming this problem, your partner will continue to get sick or get worse, or even commit suicide, so you will feel the effects too.
Depression cannot be cured without intensive care. You can start the healing process as optimally as possible. Approach your partner with attention, and with a mature plan. Don’t carelessly diagnose it by saying “Are you depressed?” or force it like “Let’s go to the doctor!”. That is, they will deny the condition progressively.
If they don’t want to consult a doctor alone, you should call the doctor first and explain that your partner has depression. Describe what the symptoms are. Then, make an appointment for them and stay with them at the consultation. If they refuse, ask them to do it for you and the kids, to make you feel better. If even this method is rejected outright, go to the doctor when they feel sick (for example, the flu or coughing cold), and tuck this conversation during a consultation in the doctor’s office.
One of the main symptoms of depression is a negative outlook. Everything felt worse than it had to be, and on some days it would be difficult for them to even get out of bed in the morning. This lethargy can be “contagious” to other things in your relationship such as dating, having sex, or even casual chatting. If your partner seems to have lost interest in your relationship, this can be painful.
Remember that your enemy is the depression, not your partner. But don’t ignore them either. If your partner is sick or hurt, you won’t hate them for it. You will help them to get treatment, right? Well, depression is no different from any other physical illness.
A supportive and loving relationship is very beneficial for someone who is suffering from depression. That includes understanding your partner, and it also means taking practical steps to deal with the problem. Take actions to help your depressed partner get better. You can go with your partner to take a walk to the park, drop them off to work and accompany them to doctor’s appointments, or make sure they take medication regularly.
Also read: What is The Cause of Mood Disorders?
6. Care and listen when they vent their feelings
Encourage a depressed partner to talk about how they feel, think, or act, and listen without being judgmental. You may hear things that scare you, for example, a depressed partner might question their love of you for their interest in living together or even their suicidal thoughts.
Ask them what they need right now, and give them exactly what they want. Make a mental list of the things that bring them joy and happiness and offer them when their depression recurs. Maybe it’s a marathon of their favorite TV series or movie, or their favorite snack. Understand what they really need during these times and then lovingly offer it to them.
TIP: You don’t always have to ask. You can always just show up with their favorite ice cream and say, “I went to the supermarket, I remember you, here.”
7. Support them even in their worst moments
The symptoms of depression are terrible. This is why they need your support, especially when they’re down. And even if the condition continues to worsen, don’t squeeze out your support. Even if they try their hardest to get rid of you (it’s common for depressed people to do so), you should continue to support them. It is easy for a depressed person to forget that they have support around them. So during this time, you should remind them of your support.
Sometimes your partner will say that they just want to be alone, but what they mean is, “I need you.”
Other times, they’ll tell you they need distance and that’s what they need. It’s your job to interpret what they need, and you can do this by asking questions and connecting them emotionally.
If your partner says they want distance, face it and try to make physical contact (hold your hand or place your hand on their thigh) and “confirm” the statement by asking if they want the solitude. By creating a physical connection, you show that you are willing to sit down with them to overcome this. If they need space, they’ll let you know. You can hold off on discussing the continuity of your relationship with the two of you once he feels better.
9. Find a mental health counselor for both of you
Your partner needs your love, support, and attention. But, these important qualities in relationships cannot cure depression at all. Use your love to get proper medical help and to remind your partner that they are valued and loved by those around them.
Depression can affect both of you. So to deal with depression in couples, in addition to seeing a medical doctor, consult a therapist or marriage counselor who specializes in dealing with depression in couples.
Why is this important? The two of you may have different problems to deal with individually, or you/they may have problems dealing with obstacles from overcoming depression. It can be helpful to have a counselor who you can both meet with each other and separate at other times.
10. Find support for yourself
Don’t forget to get help for yourself too. Remember that depression can even come upon you who are healthy. So, on the sidelines of helping your partner overcome the depression he is facing, it never hurts to rest and pamper yourself. Go watch the latest movies, have coffee in a cafe with friends, talk to friends.
Admitting depression in your relationship can be difficult. Likewise, with the difficulty of receiving assistance. Find a trusted relative or close friend to speak with – someone who probably has experienced depression in their life or their family. And if you’re overwhelmed with household chores because your partner can’t help, say yes when someone else offers to help.
Be patient with your partner
Being patient is one thing for sure and it is the only way to heal your partner from pain. Patience is like an invaluable gem for your partner and for you too.
It is very important that you have it and show it to your partner who is suffering from depression. When you become patient with your partner and understand the complications they are experiencing, you make your partner feel better.
There will be nights of tears, dark images in your mind, and uncontrollable emotional situations your partner presents. All you need to do is be patient and handle it.
Your partner will definitely appreciate this and it will make him or her happy. Depression isolates people and makes your partner feel alone. When you show patience and love to them, they adore you more and it becomes their personal favorite gift from you.
Depression can be relieved in this way. Remember, your partner needs you when he’s experiencing sudden pain and you have to be with him when he needs it.
Perseverance is important
Stay strong and don’t give up to keep trying to help your partner to feel better. With unconditional love you show them through your supports in finding professional help, reminding them to take their medication, being there for them when they need you the most, etc your perseverance will be paid off. They deserve to live a quality life. Both of you deserve to be happy.
Check this video out to learn about how perseverance can prevail in any circumstances.
Stay safe, happy, and healthy my friends.
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