How Partners Can Help
For partners of people with depression, it is important for them to understand that they cannot treat someones mental health condition. They also cannot make someone seek help if they do not want to.
What partners can do is offer understanding, love, and compassion. If someone feels that they are in a loving and secure relationship, they may feel more supported in seeking treatment.
Some other things that partners can do to help include:
- Learning about depression: People can educate themselves about depression, how it affects people, and its treatment options to gain a better understanding of what their partner is going through.
- Providing a safe space: Give the person with depression space to share their thoughts and feelings without judgment. Validate these thoughts and feelings.
- Offering practical support: When necessary, partners can help with tasks that the person finds difficult, such as cooking meals or going to appointments.
- Setting boundaries and expectations: Although support is essential, there are limits to what partners can do to help. It is important to ensure that both people understand this and that limitations in support are not due to a lack of care.
It is also important that partners look after their own mental health when caring for someone with depression. They may wish to consider speaking with a therapist themselves.
Ask Questions Dont Give Advice
It can be tempting to cheer your girlfriend up by giving advice, telling her how to fix whatever is wrong with her, or suggesting easy solutions. If you find yourself thinking things like shell feel better if she gets out more! or if only she listened to, stop!
While its natural to want to help your girlfriend, Ive found that asking questions and listening is a lot more helpful. Try asking her what she thinks the solution might be to whatever is happening in her head. Its also helpful to ask yourself whether you agree with what shes saying and if things are as bad for her as she seems to think they are.
Shore Up Your Boundaries
I realize I just told you to avoid taking things your depressed girlfriend says personally. Detaching from her whims and moods will really help you.
However, if your depressed girlfriend starts lashing out at you, dont allow it.
Even though youll be using the thicker skin youre growing, that doesnt mean you should passively ignore it when she is actually mean to you.
Sometimes people in relationships with depressed people avoid confronting their partner and enacting consequences because they are afraid that whatever they say will cause more shame and guilt, thereby making the depression worse.
This is a mistake for several reasons.
First, by not explaining your boundaries and feelings around her unacceptable behavior, youre training her that its okay with you.
No one knows where your line IS when they have no idea you actually have one. Same with all your relationships even those with non-depressed people.
Second, since her ability to genuinely empathize with you might be disconnected or temporarily out of service right now she might have a serious and REAL blind spot around whether her behavior is hurtful or abusive that simply wouldnt be there if she wasnt mentally ill.
This doesnt mean you should accept her abuse, quite the contrary.
Instead, not confronting a depressed person is like not warning your friend about the giant piece of spinach in her teeth at the debutante ball.
Be mindful of when and how you choose to confront her.
Depression Is A Real Medical Condition
Depression is a common but serious mood disorder. Depression symptoms can interfere with your ability to work, sleep, study, eat, and enjoy your life. Although researchers are still studying the causes of depression, current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. Most people with depression need treatment to feel better.
Girlfriend Is Depressed And Is Pushing Me Away
Sometimes its possible that your girlfriend is depressed and stuck in a negative thought pattern, where she feels bad about herself and doesnt want to get closer to people. This can be hard for us to deal with when were on the other side of the conversation it can feel like were being rejected or pushed away without reason. Ive put together some suggestions for how to deal with this:
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Turn To Others For Support
A partner trying to manage depression may not have the emotional capacity to support you as they usually would.
Everyone needs social support, but friendships outside of your romantic relationship become even more valuable when your partner has depression.
Suppressing emotions can isolate you and leave you struggling to manage emotional turmoil, but trusted friends and family can listen and offer support. Their compassion and validation can meet some of your needs and have a positive impact on your well-being.
Support groups can also be a good option if you dont feel comfortable sharing your partners mental health details with anyone you know.
Its also worth considering talking to a therapist on your own. Dating someone with depression isnt always easy, and it never hurts to strengthen your coping skills and practice new ways to communicate.
Act Like Your Usual Self Talking About Normal Things
When my girlfriend is depressed, she might not be interested in talking to me about my day. So dont push her too much and only talk with her when she feels like it!
Dont ask questions that you know the answer to. This will make your girl feel even worse because she wont be able to answer them. Instead, have a normal conversation with her about other things that are not related to her depression.
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I Think My Girlfriend Is Depressed: What Should I Do
Thinking your girlfriend is depressed can be worrying, especially if she can’t spot the signs of depression or refuses to seek help. Girls and women face many unique challenges when it comes to mental health, especially in the age of social media and pressures from all sides to look or be a certain way. Female hormones also have a role to play, and many women experience depression around the time of menstruation, pre or post pregnancy and when they go through the menopause. All of this can be difficult to understand if you have no experience of depression, so what can you do to help?
Listen and communicate
Although you may feel like its up to you to provide an answer or solution if your girlfriend is depressed, you can’t fix mental illness. There is plenty of practical and emotional support you can provide, but your main job is to listen and communicate with your partner and encourage her not to feel shame or guilt for being unwell.
Know that there is no normal
People with depression don’t necessarily seem depressed all of the time. There is no normal when it comes to mental illness some people experience major depressive symptoms for months or years, while others have days where they feel okay and others where they don’t, especially during recovery. If you think your girlfriend is depressed but her moods seem to change rapidly, it’s important to consult a doctor, as this can be a sign of a mood disorder.
She Isnt Shameless For Not Accomplishing Anything Shes Full Of Shame So Adding More By Giving Her A Hard Time Isnt Going To Help
The fact that shes admitted to you that she hasnt accomplished anything is probably vulnerable in and of itself because deep down, she knows as well as you do that this isnt normal, healthy behavior.
I guarantee that she isnt enjoying this time or viewing it as self-indulgence. Beating her up emotionally or trying to talk some sense into her isnt tough love, it could be fatal.
Like I just said, basic self care things like brushing her teeth and hair, showering, wearing clean clothes and cooking might be really, really hard in a way you might not understand if you havent experienced it.
Instead, empathize with her and be kind.
Help your depressed girlfriend if you can without it being a burden or something youre going to throw back in her face later.
Keep your own well being in mind should you choose to help with any of her general responsibilities in a temporary way.
Why Does My Girlfriend Push Me Away When Shes Sad
Its not that she doesnt want me around. I think its the opposite: she wants to be with me but doesnt feel like she deserves my support at this moment in time.
If your girlfriend is depressed and is pushing you away, its likely because she feels bad about herself or has some other concern that makes her feel unworthy of your love and support. This is all about her issues, nothing to do with you!
Why does she want to be alone if she feels so bad then? When negative feelings overcome depressed people, theyll often retreat into themselves in an attempt to block out whats bothering them and calm down.
They might also start tuning out or checking out of conversations. I found this post about why people check out when theyre feeling down to help understand whats going on in my girlfriends head right now.
The important thing to realize here is that depressed people arent usually doing these things because theyre mad at you or dont want to see you theyre doing it because they feel bad about themselves and are trying to cope with the feeling. Being alone is their way of coping.
When depressed people are surrounded by people, especially people they love, Ive found that it can be hard for the person suffering to access those negative feelings. Its easy to fall into denial in these situations and tell ourselves that people arent angry or upset with us.
Quit Arguing Disagreeing Or Trying To Reason With Her Negative Thought Distortions
Never argue or disagree with whatever feeling or intense and overriding hopeless judgement your depressed girlfriend is making in the moment.
Just quietly listen to her, look in her direction and let her talk it out if she wants to open up.
Hug her if shes open to that.
Dont add your opinion, advice, helpful suggestions or any analysis. Just empathize and be understanding .
Try your best not to sound patronizing in any way.
The more you disagree with her about how bad she thinks things are, the more obvious it will be to her that you cant understand her, which will make her feel even more alone and isolated. This is a good explanation of what depression might be like for her.
That goes along with my next point.
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Don’t Try To Fix Each Other
Do not try to tell your partner what to do to fix their depression. Even if you’re right, it’ll likely backfire. “Most people don’t really appreciate being told what to do,” Egel says. “Then they get defensive and dig their heels in, and then there’s a conflict, a power struggle. Even if they agree with their partner.”
Just remember, your loved one is not a project to be fixed.
“They’re not broken,” Brateman says. “They’re just depressed.”
The same goes for you. Both of you are worthy of love and amazing, healthy partnershipsâdepression and all.
Helping Someone Who Is Depressed
If your loved one or friend is depressed, here are some things you can do:
- Help him find a GP or a mental health professional such as MensLine Australia counsellor so he can get support.
- Offer your support and understanding.
- Talk to him and listen to what he has to say.
- Invite him out. He may say no at first, and you dont want to push him, but let him know that you are there.
- Men with depression may be at risk for suicide. If he is in a crisis, get help quickly. Call Suicide Call Back Service on or call 000.
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Why Depressed Partners Push You Away
At some point in everyones lifetime, someone close to us, such as a partner, experiences hardship or trying times. It can be frustrating and confusing why our partners push us away as they deal with depression. Sometimes we do the opposite of what our partner needs by smothering them in an effort to help. This response can be harmful, which is why its important to understand why they push you away and what to do about it.
Depressed partners push those closest to them away as a defense mechanism for various reasons, like feeling more comfortable alone or not having the energy to keep up with you. Its situational, just like your response should be. By being empathetic and trying to understand the situation can help further educate yourself on an appropriate response.
As a partner, we can become enablers or deepen the depression by not loving enough or too much. Sometimes our partners dont realize they are becoming withdrawn. Everything is based on personal experience. And with a deepened understanding of why partners push away, we can figure out what to do.
Transformative Addiction And Depression Treatment
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What Is The Major Cause Of Depression
Life events and daily hassles are likely to be a major cause of depression.
These events include death of a loved one, trauma, abuse, injury or accidents etc.Is there a depression gene?
Scientists believe that as many as 40 percent of those with depression can be traced to the genes. Environmental and other factors make up the other 60 percent.
Dont Take Things Personally
Pretend youre at a movie. You dont take whatever happens at the movie personally do you? You dont prepare for a real zombie apocalypse after watching Brad Pitt kill zombies in WWZ, right?
Use this same mindset with your depressed person.
Prepare mentally for her to potentially push you away, withdraw from your relationship and dump you.
Dont be afraid of this or try to talk her out of it when it happens.
Dont make any dramatic declarations about your love for her if she goes this route.
Dont put any pressure on her at all for any reason.
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Abandon The Concept Of Helping With Your Girlfriends Depression
Youll automatically feel safer to her because instead of spewing out positivity or ideas, youll just be there.
Being there might be how to help your depressed girlfriend and all she really wants or needs from you right now.
That ability to just be there and empathize can be the difference between a depressed person cutting off their entire support system and at least keeping someone around who actually gets it or at least doesnt make the feeling of hopelessness worse.
Dont underestimate how precious it might be for her if you would just stay in your own lane and be present with her.
Depression is lonely enough on its own without a troop of well-wishers who continually suggest that if you would just do something different, you would feel better.
Clinical depression is just not that simple.
How To Maintain A Healthy Relationship When Youre Depressed Love Isnt A State Of Perfect Caring It Is An Active Noun Like Struggle To Love Someone Is To Strive To Accept That Person Exactly The Way He Or She Is Right Here And Now ~fred Rogers When Youre Depressed Your Perception About Many Things Changesso How Does This Affect Your Relationships Im Thinking About This Today Becausedrum Roll Pleaseim A Little Depressed Now Im Not Depressed In The Suicidal I Want To Drive Off The Road Kind Of Way But In The Far Less Dramatic But Still Deeply Unpleasant Mild To Moderate Kind Of Way For Me One Of The Most Challenging Aspects To Feeling Like This Is That I Dont Feel As Connected As I Normally Dowith My Friends The World In General And With My Beautiful Kind Sweet Smart Sexy Husband And This Isnt Specific To Me This Is What Depression Is A Lack Of Feeling When Youre Depressed You Cant Access Feelings Of Self
1. Dont believe everything your mind says.
Your minds always telling you things that arent true, and this applies even more so when youre depressed. The more you can differentiate between you and your mind, the easier this gets. See if you can step back and think, Ah, look at what Im thinking now.
2. Dont make assumptions.
Watch out for assumptions your mind is making. Look at what youre mad about. Did they actually say that, or are you drawing conclusions yourself?
Chances are, youre just seeing a reflection of your own thoughts. And anyway, if anything your mind is telling you is real, itll still be there when youre not feeling so flat, by which time any conversation you do have will be infinitely easier and more productive.
3. Connect with your loved one over the bigger picture.
Try sharing the bigger picture of how youre feeling , rather than voicing your criticism of them. If there really is something bothering you, itll still be there when your depressed feelings have passed and I promise you, itll be a whole lot easier to talk about it then!
4. Know that your mind is very convincing.
Your mind may think it is absolutely imperative that you bring up the issue. And you know what? You might still decide to. Its your call. If you do find yourself in a discussion that you later regret, dont worry about it its all okay. It might be helpful to show this article to your partner.
5. This time will pass.
Kind wishes and loving relationships to you!
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