Don’t Take It Personally
Depression can make people behave in ways that they normally wouldn’t when they are feeling well. They may become angry, irritable, or withdrawn. They may not be interested in going out or doing things with you like they used to. Your spouse or significant other may lose interest in sex.
These things are not personal, and they don’t mean that your partner no longer cares for or about you. They are symptoms of the illness that requires treatment.
What You Can Do To Help
Active depression is definitely something people need help moving through, because they lose their motivation. Sad feelings, negative perceptions, exhaustion, and withdrawal from activities lead to a downward spiral. The more depressed they feel, the less they want to be around people, the less they want to do things that used to be fun, the less they want to do anything, the more depressed they feel, which makes them even less likely to engage with life.
Knowing how bad depression feels, people dont want to acknowledge that it could be happening. It is crucial to notice when depression is starting, so active steps can be taken to pull out of it before sliding down into a pit of despair. Here are some ways you can offer support as a friend or family member.
More on Depression
1. Encourage them to seek professional help. People who suffer from chronic depression may not even realize that they dont have to feel that way. Since depression makes people think things will never get better, they often dont bother to seek help. The best thing you can do is patiently but firmly encourage someone with depression to seek professional help. There are a wide variety of effective psychotherapy approaches for the treatment of depression. Encourage the person to look for someone they feel a connection with so that they will be motivated to stick with treatment.
Find Outdoor Activities To Do Together
When it comes to depression, sometimes the little things we take for granted are a win, like the ability to get out of the house. It can be helpful when someone is there to provide a little encouragement.
You may want to suggest doing some fun outdoor activities with your partner. Being in contact with nature may help reduce stress levels and improve mood. Physical activity can also promote the release of feel-good neurotransmitters in the brain.
It can be something simple, like taking a walk around the block or a short bike ride on a trail. If your partner is up for it, you could also go for a swim, try rollerblading together, or take an outdoor yoga class.
You can also do something more laid-back, like go to an outdoor concert, take a camping trip, or have a picnic in the park.
Sometimes they may not be up for an activity. Remember, this is not about you, so try not to take it personally. Be prepared to continue on with some plans by yourself or adapt your ideas to what they need that day.
Perhaps bring a good book, take a journal, or find a good podcast to listen to while you sit next to them. If they prefer to be by themselves, they might need you to accept this without trying to convince them otherwise.
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A Shoulder To Cry On: How To Help Others With Depression
Mental Health Education » A Shoulder to Cry On: How to Help Others With Depression
Few things can make you feel as helpless as watching someone you care about suffer. You want to offer your personal assistance, in an effort to ease their unhappiness, many times as part of a wider circle of support. The need for the care and presence of your loved ones is particularly significant in cases of major depressive disorder . Several suggestions offer insight into how to help someone with depression. Read on to find out what they are.
When A Depressed Partner Falls Out Of Love
John Folk-Williams has lived with major depressive disorder since boyhood and finally achieved full recovery just a few years ago. As a survivor ofRead More
Depression can have a devastating effect on close relationships. Sometimes depressed people blame themselves for their pain, sometimes they blame their partners.
Its baffling and shocking to see them turn into cold and blaming strangers. After years of affection and intimacy, how can they suddenly declare that they dont feel love, even worse, that they have never loved their partners at all?
Depressed partners may refuse to face the inner pain thats wrecking their lives. Rather than seek treatment, they come to believe that its the existing relationship that is ruining them. Their answer is often to leave and find happiness elsewhere.
The specific effects of depression will differ in every relationship, but this is the problem I hear about most often and the one I lived with.
What exactly is the inner pain that cant be faced and dealt with? Reciting the usual list of depression symptoms and the effects they can have on everyday life only gets you so far. General lists dont capture the experience.
Talking about inner pain suggests despair or other unbearable hurt that demands an explanation and must be escaped as quickly as possible. Since depression is a condition that can vary from day to day, that active side of pain can be the driving motive.
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Negative Unrealistic Ways Of Thinking That Fuel Male Depression
All-or-nothing thinking. Looking at things in black-or-white categories, with no middle ground
Overgeneralization. Generalizing from a single negative experience, expecting it to hold true forever
The mental filter. Ignoring positive events and focusing on the negative. Noticing the one thing that went wrong, rather than all the things that went right.
Diminishing the positive. Coming up with reasons why positive events dont count
Jumping to conclusions. Making negative interpretations without actual evidence. You act like a mind reader or a fortune teller
Emotional reasoning. Believing that the way you feel reflects reality
Shoulds and should-nots.Holding yourself to a strict list of what you should and shouldnt do, and beating yourself up if you dont live up to your rules.
Labeling. Classifying yourself based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings
Dont Try To Fix Whats Wrong
My wife is a troubleshooter. Shes an engagement manager for a healthcare company. She manages people and relationships and is good at it. No, shes brilliant. So when I let her know I was suffering from depression and needed help her first instinct was to fix what was wrong.
When I would break down in front of her, her first question was always whats wrong? The truth is that most of the time the answer is, I dont know. I may perceive some problem in my life or I may be stressed to the point where symptoms have been exacerbated, but usually I was sad because I was sad.
For me, attempts to fix what is wrong are particularly frustrating because I cant describe whats wrong. If I could, it wouldnt fix how Im feeling. I will discuss better alternatives below. Of course the urge to fix whats wrong for someone you love is strong. But I think youll save yourself and your loved one a lot of stress and frustration if you table this.
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Encourage Her To Get Treatment
Treatment is vital to recovery, so if your partner hasnt already, encourage her to seek help from a doctor or medical professional. Let her know that its nothing to be ashamed of or a sign of weakness – its actually a sign of improvement and one of the first steps to recovery.
People battling depression often feel guilty about the way theyre feeling, so reassure your girlfriend that you dont feel anything different about her and that youll continue to support her through treatment.
If your girlfriend is already receiving help, support her by helping to collect her medication, monitoring her symptoms, and taking her to therapy or support groups.
Know The Warning Signs
While its never something anyone wants to think about, its important that you know the warning signs of suicide. This will help lessen the risk of something going wrong and will ensure youre aware of subtle changes in your girlfriends demeanor.
If your girlfriend displays any of the following behaviors, seek medical assistance as soon as possible:
- Talking about feelings of hopelessness and despair
- Finding a search history full of suicidal queries
- Increasing anxiety
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Openly voices ways to kill herself
- Extreme mood swings
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Acknowledge Your Own Limitations
To help a loved one get diagnosis and treatment, you can call potential providers and set up appointments, or compile a list of clinicians for them to contact. But experts say it is also important to remember that you cannot force anyone to get help, and that pushing too hard can backfire.
Its a balancing act, said Lily Brown, director at the Center for the Treatment and Study of Anxiety with the University of Pennsylvanias Perelman School of Medicine. Of course, you want to make yourself available to talk and to suggest how they can get help, but if youre doing too much driving the boat, the person who is struggling with depression actually can start to feel a little more helpless and a little more hopeless.
She added that partners who put too much care-taking responsibility on themselves are also often overcome with feelings of guilt and shame when they are unable to fix the problem.
You shouldnt have to be your partners sole support, especially in situations where they may be in danger. Keep in mind that depression can increase the risk of self-harm and suicidal thoughts and the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline offers resources to find help for a loved one in crisis.
What If My Partner Denies Having Depression
When one partner in a relationship is living with depression, it becomes a shared experience. This is even more complex when the depressed partner denies having depression.
Denial of depression can occur for many reasons, including:
They really dont feel like anything is wrong
Lack of awareness about symptoms many symptoms overlap with what people consider medical symptoms, like fatigue, headaches, and gastrointestinal distress
Theyre low on energy and they dont want to talk about it
They feel hopeless and dont see any way to feel better
They are that they dont think they have depression
They rationalize their symptoms as normal ups and downs of adulthood
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Take Time For Yourself
When you want answers to how to deal with a depressed spouse, its easy to forget about another important person: yourself. But you cant properly take care of anyone else unless you take care of yourself first.Self-care can reduce stress and help you reconnect with yourself so that you can create breakthroughs in your life and the lives of your family members.
Dont Just Up And Leave
While handling someone with depression is exhausting at times, it is good to remember to be patient. The person with depression most likely doesnt want to be in the position that they are in. Set a time limit of improvement. If your significant other isnt actively trying to get better, be it taking their medications or going to therapy, then it just may be your time to exit. But give them that time to heal If your partner threatens to harm themselves, get help. Call an emergency service and stay with them until help arrives.
Dating Someone With Depression: 10 Tips For A Healthy Relationship
Depression is a complicated mental health disorder that affects how a person feels, thinks, and acts. Its a serious, but treatable condition that affects millions of people around the world.
Dating someone with depression can be overwhelming. It can leave you feeling bewildered and confused. You may be at a loss of how to help your partner while taking care of your own mental health.
There are several skills youll need to learn if youre dating a depressed person. Practical tips can help you foster a closer relationship with your partner.
The Risk Of Suicide Is Real
It may be hard to believe that the person you know and love would ever consider something as drastic as suicide, but a depressed person may not see any other way out. Depression clouds judgment and distorts thinking, causing a normally rational person to believe that death is the only way to end the pain they’re feeling.
Since suicide is a very real danger when someone is depressed, it’s important to know the warning signs:
- Talking about suicide, dying, or harming oneself a preoccupation with death
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness or self-hate
- Acting in dangerous or self-destructive ways
- Getting affairs in order and saying goodbye
- Seeking out pills, weapons, or other lethal objects
- A sudden sense of calm after depression
If you think a friend or family member might be considering suicide, don’t wait, talk to them about your concerns. Many people feel uncomfortable bringing up the topic but it is one of the best things you can do for someone who is thinking about suicide. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a person’s life, so speak up if you’re concerned and seek professional help immediately!
What to do in a crisis situation
If you believe your loved one is at an immediate risk for suicide, do NOT leave them alone.
In the U.S., dial 911 or call the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
In other countries, call your country’s emergency services number or visit IASP to find a suicide prevention helpline.
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Tackle The Depression As A Team
While we have certainly come a long way in reducing the stigma around mental illness, the reality is that there often still is stigma attached to any kind of psychological diagnosis. Because of this, its imperative that supportive partners adopt an attitude of compassion for and collaboration with their partners with depression. Being a team might look like aligning with the depressed partners therapeutic goals, taking care of practical barriers , and learning what words/actions are helpful and encouraging. Heather Yassick, MS, LMHC & Grouport Therapist
How To Talk To Someone About Depression
Sometimes it is hard to know what to say when speaking to someone about depression. You might fear that if you bring up your worries the person will get angry, feel insulted, or ignore your concerns. You may be unsure what questions to ask or how to be supportive.
If you don’t know where to start, the following suggestions may help. But remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. You don’t have to try to fix your friend or family member you just have to be a good listener. Often, the simple act of talking face to face can be an enormous help to someone suffering from depression. Encourage the depressed person to talk about their feelings, and be willing to listen without judgment.
Don’t expect a single conversation to be the end of it. Depressed people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.
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Recognize Depression Isnt Everything
When youre dating someone with depression, remember the illness doesnt define them. Your partner will have many feelings and thoughts that are unrelated to their depression. As a result, they may feel discontented with the relationship. Dont attribute everything they say to their depression. For example, if your partner says theyre feeling ignored, dont immediately jump to the conclusion its just the depression talking.
The thing about depression and relationships is youll have to learn to separate mood changes related to depression from legitimate grievances. The best way to do this is to have frank, honest conversations with your partner and forge an emotional connection with them.
Create A Healthy And Supportive Environment
Dealing with depression in a relationship doesnt have to be a significant struggle – youve just got to learn how to develop healthy habits together as a couple. That might mean you have to change a few of your own patterns, especially if you suffer from something like substance abuse or a mental health issue of your own.
Creating a healthy and supportive environment at home will give you and your partners life a little more harmony and consistency. The more healthy habits and patterns you set, the better your partner will be able to cope with their depression.
To do this, you could:
- Spend time together doing things you love .
- Carve out time for each of you to spend with your friends.
- Establish a healthy diet, exercise, and sleep routine.
- Go to couples counseling to get things off your chest and maintain an open flow of communication .
- Encourage practicing mindfulness or yoga together.
- Create a wind-down routine together before bed.
- Establish boundaries and give each other space to breathe .
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Signs And Symptoms Of Depression In Men
Men tend to be less adept at recognizing symptoms of depression than women. A man is more likely to deny his feelings, hide them from himself and others, or try to mask them with other behaviors. And while men may experience classic symptoms of depression such as despondent mood, loss of interest in work or hobbies, weight and sleep disturbances, fatigue, and concentration problems, they are more likely than women to experience stealth depression symptoms such as anger, substance abuse, and agitation.
The three most commonly overlooked signs of depression in men are: