Living with a partner who has depression is never an easy task as you have to deal not with your partner only but also his mood swings and many other things that you are even not responsible for. Depression is an isolating illness that can negatively impact relationships and leave loved ones feeling helpless and afraid.
The mood in major depression is often described as sad, hopeless, discouraged, or feeling down, but it can also include persistent anger. Angry outbursts and blaming others is common. Social withdrawal and lack of interest or pleasure are common among depressed people. Family members notice that depressed people seem not to care about finding joy anymore. All of these factors can make it difficult to know how to help a depressed partner. But your support is important. You can’t cure your partner’s depression, but you can help you partner along the road to recovery.
You might feel like the best way to be helpful is to find the best available treatment in your area, find support groups, or talk to other people battling depression to find out what “works,” but often the best thing you can do for your partner is simply show up. You don’t have all the answers, and that’s okay, but what you can do is sit and listen. You can hold your partner’s hand, offer hugs, and be present.
You can respond with encouraging statements:
· “Tell me what I can do to help.”
· “You are important to me.”
· “I am here for you.”
· “We will get through this together.”
For many people with depression, symptoms are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in daily activities, such as work, school, social activities, or relationships. Other people, however, might not recognize that they’re depressed. They might not understand the symptoms of depression and think that their feelings are just something they have to endure.
All too often, people feel that they just have to will themselves better, but depression seldom improves without treatment. You can help your partner by encouraging treatment and being there during appointments.
Help your partner consider getting treatment by doing the following:
- Share the symptoms you’ve noticed. Express your concern.
- Express your willingness to help, including making and preparing for appointments.
- Discuss what you’ve learned about depression.
- Talk about treatment options, including psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.
Focus On Small Goals:
Depression feels overwhelming. When someone is severely depressed, even the act of getting out of bed can feel like a monumental task.
You can help your partner by setting and acknowledging small goals and daily achievements. Breaking down larger tasks (i.e. applying to new jobs) into smaller tasks (i.e. update resume, write cover letter, research available openings) can help your partner take small steps toward returning to normal daily activities. For people who struggle to get out of bed each day, focus on getting up, taking a shower, and eating a healthy meal. Your partner is likely to improve with treatment, but you will need to practice patience and understanding when working through a depressive episode.