Six tips to help you both if your partner is depressed
Imagine — a man with controlled depression who wants to live a normal life, date, and have sex, though it's harder for him than it is for you. How do you help your partner through a difficult time and not become a hyper-parenting mommy? Pure has some workable know-how tips to help you get to know and build a relationship with a depressed partner.
We extend our thanks to Dina Denisova, a CBT therapist, for her contribution to this article
1. Be tactful
Unfortunately, there are still far too many negative stereotypes about depression. Depression is often associated with being ill, incapable, or even insane. Guy A. Boysen, a psychology professor at McKendree University, found in two studies that most people don't see people with depression and other disorders as lifelong partners.
People with depression frequently do not think they are "good enough" for relationships, employment, and life in general. As a result, many people with depression downplay their illness and constantly criticize themselves; they have a very difficult time imagining a life free of complex emotions and negative thoughts. This results from a lack of knowledge. So, start by learning about the illness, understand the primary symptoms, and make an effort to refrain from using phrases that devalue people. For example: "Just get a grip" or "It's not a real disease."
2. Ask, "How can I help?"
Helping someone with depression can take many different forms. Try participating in daily tasks, giving hugs, and helping find a professional - whichever is more suitable for your situation
A person with a depressive disorder commonly needs help with even the most basic tasks. Sometimes it is difficult to even get out of bed or prepare breakfast. You can offer assistance with meal preparation, going with them to appointments, the gym, and walks, and reminding them to take their medications. Hugs and supporting conversations are needed occasionally, but it’s common that your partner will need solitude, peace, and quiet. Finding a reputable specialist and accompanying the patient during their initial consultation can help motivate someone who needs to see a specialist.
Keep in mind that there is a major difference between help and custody. It is very simple to fall into hyper-overprotection and take on some of the duties that belong solely to your partner. Don’t babysit someone who is not disabled; an adult, even one who is unhealthy, must deal with their own problems. Providing the person with a safe environment, not underestimating their condition, and offering assistance when they request it will be a great help.
3. Don't take their words and actions personally
Resentment is not an option when dealing with a depressed person
“Bad days” are a common symptom of depression for those who experience it. And if it is treated in a timely manner, they will undoubtedly recover. It's critical not to refuse their requests for help during hard times and to recognize that the person's inner state, rather than your presence, is causing their anger or depression. Your boundaries will likely be crossed if you are around a depressed person. Know that you have the freedom to respond emotionally and set boundaries in these situations.
Some people start to feel bad and join their partner in their depression. Don’t take that route. Building boundaries will be much more beneficial than passive compliance. You can politely request your partner to avoid certain words or expressions if they offend you. Don’t just get mad and walk away when things don’t go as expected - take a break if you need to, and try to work it out together.
4. Don't forget about your health
When dealing with a depressed person, make sure to take care of your emotional health first
You must be at LEAST more capable than your partner if you are trying to care for them while they are experiencing depressive symptoms. You have every right to take care of your well-being; otherwise, a depressive episode could also take over you. Get more sleep, exercise, take breaks, and hang out with friends. Find a therapist or psychological support group to seek help from a qualified individual when you need it. You should pay close attention to your physical and mental health because helping a partner who is depressed can be crippling and terrifying, so you’ll need all the strength you can get.
5. Think about safety
Emotional balance in a relationship with a depressed person is better than constantly trying to please them
The partners of those suffering from clinical depression need to be aware of the suicide warning signs so they can act quickly. You should immediately contact a specialist if you notice extreme cravings or abrupt changes in emotions, hear talk about death, wills, or sleeping pills. Additionally, psychologists strongly suggest talking to someone who is depressed at a very low emotional intensity. Instead of emotional roller coasters, they need peace: quiet conversations, silence, and leisurely strolls.
6. Listen to the experts
Scientific research, as well as your personal therapy (ex, self-care), can help you care for a depressed partner
Depression is extensively covered in scientific literature. Some of the most popular books include detailed instructions on what to do and how to do things if your loved one is experiencing depression. We recommend "Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy" by Dr. David Burns. Just keep in mind that as you both deal with the illness together, you both need psychologist or therapist support.
On the subject
- Some forms of depression cannot be treated with medication; it is known as "therapeutically resistant depression," for which medication is ineffective;
- According to the WHO, depression will overtake physical illness as the second-leading cause of disability by 2030;
- Researchers have identified 15 genes that contribute to depression, according to a study by the genetic testing business 23andMe;
- 350 million people worldwide experience depression.