Depression is a mood disorder which often materializes as sadness, negativity, or gloom.
Depression is a very common mental health illness and according to the World Health Organization, people born after 1945 are ten times more likely to have it.
It can be difficult helping a partner with depression as they may seem distant and not commit to the relationship. You might often need to be the proactive one. However, you can also expect to be valued, loved, and respected.
If your partner experiences depression, you can learn to be a more supportive partner. Some ways to do this are to:
Depression is a mental health condition that makes you lack motivation and feel persistently low. While it is normal to feel helpless and low sometimes, if this lasts for a long time and interferes with your daily life, then you might have depression.
When family members notice that someone they love has depression, it can be very difficult to know what to do, so understanding the mental illness and knowing how to support your partner can be important. You might also be able to help others support your partner better.
Depression can manifest very differently in different people. Your partner's symptoms may include some or many of the following:
There are also different types of depression. While symptoms of depression may be the same during depressive episodes, these episodes may be more or less regular and last for different periods of time.
Main types of depression:
The National Institute of Mental Health has a lot of additional helpful information both about the symptoms of depression and what support is available.
Depression is a common mental health condition so there is lots of help available. However, there is evidence that less than a third of people with depression receive treatment.
People may not realize that they have symptoms of depression and think that they have to will themselves better.
It might be helpful for you to share symptoms you have noticed with your partner, find treatment options, encourage treatment from a mental health professional, and accompany your partner to appointments.
As well as medical support, you can look into self-organized support groups. Speaking with people who are experiencing similar things might help your partner to feel less alone.
It is important not to push them if they do not feel ready to seek treatment.
Recovering from depression is not linear. Your partner may still have lows even when they are generally doing better. Help your partner stick with the recovery process. For example, if they still need you to accompany them to appointments, support them with this.
Too many expectations can be overwhelming for people experiencing depression. You should therefore avoid projecting too far into the future. Instead focus on small goals. If your partner struggles to get up in the morning, you can focus on things like getting up and eating healthily.
This might be difficult for you as it may not provide the reassurance you need about your future with your partner. It is important for you to look after yourself so that you can deal with this. We will speak about how to take care of yourself later.
Your partner may lack motivation to take the lead even at home. You can create a supportive environment by cooking and eating healthy meals together, avoiding having alcohol in the house, and doing exercise together.
Do not require your partner to be involved all the time as this might put them under pressure. You can do these things alone when they do not feel up to it and gently encourage them when they seem to be doing better.
Active listening is the practice of listening which helps to build trust between the listener and speaker and makes sure that the speaker feels heard and supported.
When your partner is depressed, it is more important that you listen to them than offer advice.
Active listening requires that you pay attention without judgment. You can clarify and summarize what your partner has said so that they know you have heard what they are saying.
You may not have all the answers, but listening and asking open-ended questions so that they can say everything they need can be very helpful for your partner.
You should be careful with the questions you ask your partner as they could have a negative impact on how they feel. It is recommended to ask questions which are supportive and collaborative rather than making them feel like they need to deal with things alone.
Using positive reinforcement can also help as your partner may feel very negatively about themselves and not see their positive values. However, don't try to cheer them up with exaggerated positivity. This could make them feel like you are dismissing their feelings.
What can I do to help?
What can we do to get through this together?
What changes can we make to help you feel better?
What helped you last time you were depressed?
Why are you making such a big deal about this?
Do you feel better?
What's wrong with you?
Don't you know how lucky you are?
People living with depression may self-harm, have suicidal thoughts and ideations, and attempt suicide.
You should seek immediate medical assistance by calling 911 if your partner attempts suicide.
Suicide prevention is clearly preferential to dealing with things when someone has already attempted suicide. Knowing the signs of suicide can help you to recognize if your partner needs help.
Signs to look out for include:
If your partner is displaying these symptoms, there are places you can get support.
Supporting a partner with depression can be draining. Make sure you don’t forget your own physical and emotional well-being. Look after your own mental health as it may suffer.
Here are some ways you can look after yourself:
You might sometimes feel like your partner does not love you because they experience apathy which makes it difficult for them to do the things which usually connect you. For example, you may have connected through walks or going to the cinema, but your partner does not feel able to do these things now.
They might also experience a loss of interest in sex and feel less physically attracted to you. It is important for your own mental health that you understand that this is not to do with you but is related to their depression.
This does not mean that your partner does not love you. Being in a relationship can be very good for people dealing with depression. They can be encouraging, liberating, and even empowering.
At GIA Miami, we understand that reasons for depression are unique and tailor our recovery program to your needs.
We offer a range of treatment options including:
If your partner is ready to get support and you would like to find out more about the treatment we provide you can visit our website or call us on 833 713 0828.
How to Take Care of Your Mental Health
How To Think Positive When Depressed
How Do I Know If I Have Postpartum Depression?