How To Help A Depressed Partner
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During recent years, people talk more openly about it; you have probably heard that depression is one of the most common mental health issues of modern times. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 264 million people in the world struggle with some form of depression. The statistic is grim, yet some people still don’t realize the severity of the problem, and when their partners or someone close to them exhibits signs of depression, they dismiss it.
To a certain degree, these people have a point! It is normal to feel sadness or despair as a response to unfavorable and challenging events. If you are experiencing these emotions after losing a friend, or family member, they might last for several months and reappear around significant dates. However, in case, a person still manages to enjoy life despite the difficulties, it is unlikely they are depressed. On the other hand, estimates are that one in three people will experience some form of depressive episode in their lifetime.
One of the main things we need to know when it comes to depression is that it doesn’t affect only the person struggling with it but also their family, friends, partners, etc. When your partner gets diagnosed with depression, you can be overwhelmed with the sensation of fear, helplessness, etc.
You are likely to be under the impression that all of your attempts to support your partner fail. In this situation, it is quite expected that you feel as if you are useless. However, according to Dating Reviewer, the first thing you have to know is that the fact that you are there already makes an effect.
A lot of people have gone through what you are experiencing. Therefore, they decided to share their experiences and ideas on how to support a partner who is depressed. After conversations, we had them as well as experts for the topic we present to you these tips that we found as the most effective.
What is Depression?
Most of you likely know someone who has had a depressive episode of some kind. However, for those of you who are unsure, we are going to explain what depression means. A simple definition of depression would be that it is an emotional disorder manifested through a person’s sensation of deep sadness and loss of interest. However, different people can experience a variety of other symptoms. In the words of people struggling with depression, these are extreme sadness, loneliness, feeling of being misunderstood, incompetent, and weak.
How to Support Partner with Depression
Learn About Depression
Here’s the thing – regardless of how much you think you know about depression, make sure to learn more when you are trying to support your partner during tough times. You may know that depression is characterized by a two-week period during which a person is extraordinarily sad or has no interest in anything. That is indeed true, but you should still keep in mind that depression isn’t a static illness. When someone is struggling with depression, they can have such a good day that you might think that the problem is gone. Furthermore, your partner can be in a super good mood for several consecutive days, only to fall back in the depressive phase all over again. This flow and ebb effect typical for depression can be quite confusing for those in a relationship with someone who is depressed. That is why we recommend you to read as much as possible to figure out how to handle all the challenges depression can bring.
It is vital when you want to know how to support a partner struggling with depression. Many people think the best they can do when their partners are depressed is to find excellent professional help. But things don’t usually don’t work that way. Remember that feeling of loneliness is typical for depression! Then, imagine how your partner is going to feel if you are running away from them and around searching for the best mental health expert! Of course, you are not skilled or trained in diagnosing or treating depression, and you shouldn’t do it. However, this must not mean that you don’t spend time with your partner, talk with them, etc. You don’t have all the answers for sure, but show up, be there, say how much they mean to you, make it clear that you are not letting them go through the problem alone.
Try to Do Things You Enjoy Together
Depressed people often feel extremely tired and lack energy to do even the things they enjoyed most before the episode occurred. When you are figuring out how to support a partner with mental illness, it is necessary to remember that your job is to help them see that depression is just part of their lives. In other words, you have to support them to come to the understanding that there are plenty of things that they can still do. You can go to the lake together, or for a walk in the woods, or cycling and so on.
Focus on Small Things
Something that we also shouldn’t forget is that depression and anxiety often go hand in hand. Moreover, it is equally crucial to keep in mind when we want to know how to support a partner with depression and anxiety that these conditions can be quite overwhelming. Given the situation, depressed people can see everything as a challenge, even the smallest things, as you can imagine. Support your partner by setting small goals – break down large tasks into several small ones. For example, if they need to look for a new job – pick one day to go through the CV, the next day make the changes, etc. Make sure to do this with a lot of patience and understanding, and you will see that your partner will get better over time.
Taking care of a partner who struggles with depression is emotionally arduous. Keep in mind that to support a partner with depression adequately, you need to practice a lot of self-care as well and make sure you have at least a friend or two who can be there for you during this period. Have you ever been in a situation to support a partner or someone else important to you who experienced depression? Would you mind sharing your experiences?
Rachael Sullivan is a family lawyer for many years with a sole practice in family law. She met her husband on Dating Mentor and now she enjoys sharing healthy tips for relationships so that it can be as easy and happy as possible because words are powerful and can change everything.