What to do if your partner is depressed.
When depression takes over your partner, you are also likely to go through a challenging, sometimes traumatic emotional experience.
You may feel helpless, clueless on what to do, and incapable of helping. In most times, you don’t want to give up, but at some points, you do.
Yes, depression is such a debilitating condition that can take a toll on your relationship.
Being a partner of a depressed person is very difficult. People who are depressed usually feel withdrawn.
They lack the enthusiasm, energy and passion to pursue their daily routine at home, or at work. They are often irritable, furious, disengaged and emotionally sensitive.
They also tend to lose interest on sex. All these things can quickly lead to a non-depressed partner feeling that he or she is unwanted or unloved.
So how can a non-depressed partner help?
Spot the signs of depression. Recognising signs of depression is of major importance.
It’s easy for a non-depressed person to interpret hostility and low mood as what the depressed partner really want in their relationship and to make judgements, when it fact, all such symptoms don’t actually have something to do with the quality of relationship they have, but more on the illness.
Whilst all of us experience sadness at some points in life, people who are depressed experience persistent feelings of unhappiness that last for several weeks or more.
Other than the psychological symptoms, they may also experience physiological symptoms of depression like difficulty sleeping especially at night, rapid weight loss or weight gain, upset stomach, and chronic fatigue.
Take good care of yourself.
The last thing you want to happen is to see yourself going through depression as well.
You really want to stay strong and positive to help your partner in the best way you can.
It is common for a non-depressed partner to focus on the other person and try to bring back the loving, familiar man or woman he or she once knew.
But it’s also easy to lose sight of your own needs, which can take a big toll on your health and well-being.
So don’t forget that you also have a body and mind to take care of. Engage in the things that relax you once in a while. Work out, eat well, and consider meditating.
Learn about depression.
As his or her partner, you are the source of strength of your significant other.
If you’ve never been depressed all your life, you might find it hard to understand and empathise with your partner.
Sometimes, you may think that he or she is just overreacting or being difficult when in truth, your special someone is already going through severe depression.
It is therefore important that you learn about the illness and its impact on a person’s health and well-being.
Be familiar with the signs and symptoms, and how you can deal with them. It’s a good idea to consult a mental health professional to get accurate information.
Don’t blame yourself.
It’s not your fault. Don’t blame yourself if your partner is being difficult, or if he or she lost interest in sex, and all other things you used to do together.
Depression is such a complicated mental illness that is not yet fully understood. Yes you can help your partner but remember that to fully recover, he or she should also help him/herself.
Just be there.
Sometimes, simply staying with your partner is all he or she needs to ease the sadness.
Depressed people think that no one is there for them or that they are alone in this battle. Let your significant other realise that he or she is never alone in this fight and that you can get through this together.
Encourage him or her to go out for a walk with you. Arrange a travel vacation, if possible in a place where he or she can relax close to nature.
Seek professional help.
Depression can affect almost all aspects of your relationship. So keep on getting help.
Perhaps you have caring friends or relatives to confide in. Your partner may want to attend individual counselling or join a support group.
Convince your partner to seek professional help by informing him or her about its benefits.
There will be times when you will feel that all your efforts are not going anywhere. But don’t give up. Just hang on in there. Depression can indeed hard to overcome, but it is possible.
If you or anyone you know is showing signs of depression, please take heed of these snippets of advice and feel free to contact me for help alleviating the problem.
Your comments are always welcome.
Clinical hypnotherapist & Psychotherapist at Greymatterz
Part of the Core Health Centre