Tips On Being In A Relationship With Someone With Depression
If you’ve found yourself in a relationship with someone who experiences depression, it can be challenging to know how to help them. It is important to remember that everyone experiences depression differently and there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to providing support.
Whether you’re in a romantic relationship or close friendship with someone who is suffering from depression, you most likely have both gone through some very hard times. It is only natural to feel overwhelmed, scared, and frustrated at times.
As a counselor, I work with many patients who are living with or have lived with someone with severe depression. They often tell me that it’s hard to know how to show up for their partner in a way that is supportive and nonjudgmental.
In this article, I’ll be giving you tips on how to help a family member or someone you are in a relationship with who is suffering from depression.
So, let’s get started.
How To Tell The Difference Between A Low Mood And Depression?
It’s not always easy to tell the difference between a low mood and depression because they can share similar symptoms. However, there are some key differences between the two that can help you distinguish between them.
A low mood is a temporary feeling of sadness or unhappiness that is usually triggered by a particular event or circumstance, such as a relationship break-up or a stressful day at work. It tends to lift on its own within a few days or weeks, or with the help of self-care activities, such as exercise, spending time with friends, or practicing relaxation techniques.
Depression, on the other hand, is a more persistent and severe form of low mood that can last for weeks, months, or even years. It can affect your ability to function in daily life and can have a significant impact on your relationships, work, and overall quality of life.
Some key differences between a low mood and depression include:
- Duration: A low mood is usually temporary and lasts for a few days or weeks, while depression is a persistent and ongoing condition.
- Intensity: A low mood is usually less severe than depression and may not affect your ability to function in daily life, while depression can be more intense and can make it difficult to perform even basic tasks.
- Symptoms: While both a low mood and depression can involve feelings of sadness or unhappiness, depression is more likely to involve additional symptoms, such as changes in appetite or sleep patterns, fatigue, feelings of worthlessness, and thoughts of suicide.
If you’re experiencing persistent feelings of low mood or depression, it’s important to seek help from a mental health professional, who can help you identify the underlying causes of your symptoms and develop an effective treatment plan.
Can Depressed People Maintain Good Relationships?
The short answer to this question is yes. It may take some time and patience, but it’s possible for a person who is living with depression to have healthy relationships with others. The key is understanding how depression works, learning how to communicate effectively on both sides and developing strategies for managing difficult emotions.
When a person is going through a difficult time such as depression, it can be incredibly challenging for their family and friends to know how to best help them. During this period, the most valuable thing you can do is to be patient and understanding.
It’s also important to remember that depression isn’t a sign of weakness, but rather, a medical condition that requires treatment.
The most important thing to know is that depression is an illness. It affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Depressed people can sometimes be withdrawn and isolated, which can make communication between partners difficult if they don’t know how to handle the situation.
Ask how your partner is feeling, rather than assuming you know what they’re thinking or feeling based on their behavior. Be prepared to listen and offer support, especially during a depressive episode. But remember that you can’t fix the problem for them – only they can do that.
The Common Signs Of Depression
Depression can manifest in many different ways, and depression symptoms can vary from person to person. However, there are some common signs of depression that many people experience.
Here are some of the most common signs of depression:
- Persistent sadness or feelings of emptiness
- Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches without a clear medical cause
- Irritability or restlessness
Now, everyone has a bad day every now and then and everyone has negative thoughts once in a while but these are NOT depression. When someone is suffering from clinical depression, these symptoms are persistent and don’t go away.
When the sadness persists for more than two weeks, combined with hopelessness, despair and various other symptoms, this could be a sign of Major Depressive Disorder.Ashleytreatment.org
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms or think you might be depressed, it’s important to seek professional help from a mental health care provider.
Does Depression Sabotage Relationships?
Depression can certainly take its toll on relationships – but with mutual respect, understanding, and compassion it’s possible to maintain a close connection. Keep in mind that depression affects both individuals in the relationship differently; try to be mindful of how each person’s experience is unique.
Also bear in mind that depression often involves feelings of worthlessness, guilt or shame. If you’re feeling this way, it’s important to turn your internal dialogue around. Talk to yourself with compassion and acceptance – a positive mindset is key to keeping relationships healthy!
25 Ways To Be A Good Partner To Someone With Mental Health Issues
Living with someone who has depression or other mental illnesses can be challenging. And it may at times feel as if you are more of a caretaker than a partner. But there are ways to be supportive and loving without taking on too much responsibility.
One note of caution first, if your partner or friend is expressing suicidal thoughts or behavior, please seek professional help immediately. Do not hesitate and do not hope that it will get better tomorrow. Call your mental health provider or other health professionals (i.e. doctor or 988 (the suicide hotline) right away.
Here are 25 ways you can become a better partner to someone who is dealing with depression or other mental health challenges:
1. Educate yourself – The first step is to learn about the signs and symptoms of depression can help you recognize when your partner is struggling, as well as provide insight into how their condition affects them.
However, it’s important to understand that no two people experience depression in the same way, so be sure to do your research and gain a better understanding of their specific needs.
It would be a good thing to speak to a mental health professional so that you can learn some new ways to not only live and care for your loved one but how to help them as well.
2. Listen without judgment – Offering an open, non-judgmental ear to your partner can be a great way to help them feel heard and understood. Showing that you are truly listening is important, so resist the urge to offer advice or solutions unless explicitly asked.
3. Respect their space – It’s important to be available and understanding, but also be aware that your partner may need some time alone when they’re feeling particularly low. Give them the freedom to take a break if they need one, and make sure you let them know that it’s OK for them to leave the conversation or take a break to process their feelings.
4. Stay positive – Remind your partner of all the things they appreciate in life, and encourage them to focus on the positives even during difficult times. Research has shown that maintaining an optimistic outlook can help promote healing and reduce symptoms of depression.
To help bring out that optimistic attitude, try watching a funny movie, or getting out for some exercise outdoors.
5. Help them reach out for professional support – If your partner is struggling with their depression, encourage them to see a therapist or psychiatrist. Ask if there are any local support groups or activities that might provide the help and companionship they need.
6. Take care of yourself – It’s important to remember that you can only help your partner so much. If you’re feeling overwhelmed or need a break, don’t be afraid to take one. Taking care of yourself is key if you want to help your partner manage their, depression.
Make sure you get enough sleep, eat healthily, and exercise regularly. This may mean making some lifestyle changes such as cutting back on caffeine and alcohol consumption. Remember that if you don’t take care of yourself first, it will be difficult to support your partner in their depression.
7. Remind them that there is hope – Although depression can feel overwhelming at times, remind your partner that there is hope for them. Remind them that with time, support, and proper treatment they can manage their depression effectively.
8. Be patient – Depression can be difficult to cope with and it may take some time before your partner starts to see an improvement. Be patient and try not to get frustrated with them if they seem like they’re not getting better.
9. Understand the triggers – Depression is often caused by certain events or experiences. Talk to your partner about what may be triggering their depression and work together to find ways of overcoming these triggers.
10. Find out what helps them – Every person is different and will respond to different things when they’re feeling down. Maybe your partner finds it helpful to talk about their feelings or go for a walk, perhaps they just want some alone time.
Talk to them and find out what helps them manage their depression in a positive way. Help them find a healthy way to cope with their depression
11. Prepare for the bad days – Depression can be unpredictable, so the best thing to do is to prepare yourself for when things get tough. Have a plan in place so that you know how to handle difficult situations and stay positive in the face of adversity.
12. Encourage self-care – Help your partner make time for activities that bring them joy and relax their mind. Whether it’s exercise, meditation or simply taking a break from everyday life, encouraging them to take care of themselves can help reduce the symptoms of depression.
13. Show them support – When your partner is feeling down, remind them that you are there for them. Showing that you believe in them and their ability to overcome this difficult situation can be a powerful tool for recovery.
14. Offer assistance – If your partner is having a tough time managing everyday tasks, such as cleaning or running errands, offer to lend a helping hand. This can take some of the pressure off and allow them to focus their energy on activities that bring them comfort.
15. Set boundaries – It’s important to remember that you are not responsible for your partner’s depression. As such, it’s important to set boundaries for yourself and your partner in order to maintain a safe and healthy relationship.
15. Be flexible – It can be very difficult for someone with depression to stick to a schedule or plan. Try to be flexible when making plans, understanding that your partner may not feel up to going out or seeing certain people.
16. Make time for fun – Depression can cause someone to lose interest in activities they once enjoyed. Doing activities together that can help your partner break out of the depression cycle, like going for a walk or visiting a museum, can be fun and beneficial.
This may include lifestyle changes like breaking out of the habit of watching television until 1 am or making healthier dietary choices.
17. Communicate openly – Open communication is always a good idea and a key in any relationship, but it’s especially important if one partner has depression. Talk openly and frankly about your feelings, struggles, and successes.
18. Accept that depression is an illness – Depression is a medical condition, not something the person can “just snap out of” or control at will. Understanding this can help you have more sympathy and empathy for your partner’s suffering, instead of frustration or anger.
19. Know your limits – Everyone has their own way of coping with depression, so it is important to respect your partner’s boundaries when it comes to how they want to manage their condition. It’s ok to offer support, but don’t put too much pressure on them, as this could make their situation worse.
20. Remind them they are not alone – Let your partner know that you are there for them and will continue to be even if it’s hard. Remind them that they’re not alone in this and create a safe space where they can express themselves completely.
21. Avoid blaming yourself – When your partner is going through depression, it’s easy to blame yourself and think that you could have done something differently. However, it’s important to remember that depression isn’t anyone’s fault and that there are usually underlying biological and environmental causes.
22. Be understanding of their needs – It can be difficult to understand why your partner behaves differently when they’re depressed. It is important to remember that everyone deals with depression differently, and it’s essential to be patient, tolerant, and understanding.
23. Allow yourself to be supported – Being the support system for someone with depression can be draining and exhausting. Don’t forget about your own needs and make sure you are getting enough rest, exercise, and social time to keep yourself energized.
Keep in touch with close friends, family, or professionals if you need help.
24. Encourage healthy habits – Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep are important for physical health, but can also help to improve mental well-being. Encourage your partner to look after themselves and take part in activities that have a positive impact on their mood.
25. Don’t force them to talk – While it is important to provide a supportive environment where your partner feels comfortable opening up, forcing them to talk when they don’t want to can be counterproductive. Respect their boundaries and allow them time and space if that is what they need.
Is It Advisable To Marry A Depressed Person?
The decision to marry someone who is struggling with depression is a deeply personal one that should be made after careful consideration and with the guidance of a mental health professional.
It’s important to understand that this is a complex and challenging condition that can have a significant impact on both the individual and their loved ones.
Ultimately, the decision to marry someone who is depressed should be based on your own needs and expectations, as well as your willingness and ability to support your partner in managing their condition.
Just remember that depression is most often a treatable condition, and with the right support, many people are able to lead fulfilling and rewarding lives.