Dealing with depression is no easy feat. But it isn’t just the person with depression symptoms who suffers.
It’s also hard to deal with a depressed partner.
Depression in one partner can cause depression, anxiety, stress, and other challenges for their partners and other family members.
You want to help your partner. But depression is bigger than both of you. Therefore, you need to learn what you can do to help … but also what you must do to take care of yourself as you deal with a depressed partner.
Learn About Depression –What are the Signs?
The number one thing that you can do if you have a partner with depression is to learn as much as possible about their experience.
There are two components to this:
- Learn about depression in general. Read, listen to podcasts, research, talk to others who have experienced depression. Learn all about it.
- Learn about your partner’s experience of depression. Every individual experiences depression in their own way. If your partner will open up to you, listen nonjudgmentally to their experience.
Symptoms of Depression
In particular, you’ll want to learn about the signs of depression.
This will help you better understand when your partner’s behavior is due to your partner feeling depressed. This can increase compassion as well as point you towards potential solutions.
Physical symptoms of depression include:
- Fatigue often accompanied by insomnia or hypersomnia
- Digestion issues
- Unexplained aches and pains
Other symptoms of feeling depressed include:
- Loss of interest in activities and people
- Loss of interest in sex and physical touch
- Substance abuse and/or increase in drug and alcohol use
- Trouble concentrating, focusing, and remembering
- Thoughts of death
As you learn about depression, you may discover that women and men often manifest symptoms differently. Learn more about depression in men.
Moreover, you might discover that depression doesn’t look the way you might think. Not all people with depression withdraw from life, for example. Learn more about high-functioning depression here.
How to Support Your Partner
Learning about depression can go a long way towards helping you to deal with a depressed partner. It will give you a lot of insight into their experience.
Their depression can seriously impact your relationship. However, understanding where they’re coming from can help a lot as you deal with a depressed partner.
What your partner needs to feel supported can vary a lot from person to person.
Here are some common ways to support your partner:
- Continue to listen non-judgmentally to their experience and try to understand where they are coming from.
- Establish and encourage healthy habits in the home. If you eat well, sleep well, and exercise well, then your partner might take the cue. And that can go a long way towards improving some symptoms of depression.
- Help them to seek medical advice and/or make an appointment with a mental health professional.
- Remind your partner that you are there for them. Some phrases to use regularly might include “we will get through this together” and “I know that this is really hard, but I’m here to help you if you’ll let me.”
- Set boundaries; depression isn’t an excuse for them to mistreat you or to fail to hold up some of their most important family obligations.
- Tell your partner all of the things that you love about them. Depression eats away at yourself-esteem. Your partner already knows the things that they aren’t doing well enough. Remind them of all of their great qualities, even if they don’t believe you right now.
Finding Help and What You Need to Do
Don’t make the mistake of trying to deal with a depressed partner alone. The stress of having a partner with depression is too much to handle on your own. You’re going to need support of your own.
Build up and rely on your own support system, which might include:
- Family and friends who can listen to you, take you on outings that support your own interests, and assist you in household tasks, etc. that your depressed partner might not be able to help with at this time
- Acquaintances with similar interests who provide you with support for activities and interests outside of your relationship
- Support groups that will introduce you to other people who deal with a depressed partner
- A mental health professional for you as an individual and/or for the two of you as a couple
Anytime that you’re dealing with mental illness, it can become easy to shut down into your own little world. However, this is not good for your mental health or for your relationship. You have to keep nurturing your own well-being outside of the relationship.
By taking care of yourself, you set a good example for your depressed partner. Moreover, you gather the strength that you need to keep working through all of the emotional challenges that come along when you deal with a depressed partner.
Therapy can help everyone in the family.
Whether you’re seeking individual support for you or your depressed partner, relationship counseling, or family therapy, we have professionals experienced in assisting you through this challenge. Contact us today for an appointment.