Learn About What Your Friend Is Going Through
Not totally sure what depression or anxiety are, or how to help a friend with depression or anxiety? A really great first step in helping your friend is to find out more about depression, anxiety or anything else your friend is going through this will help you to better understand whatâs happening and how they feel.
My friends try to learn more about what Im experiencing, especially asking for and going to sources of information I recommend. hellofriend
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Dealing With The Winter Blues
For some people, the reduced daylight hours of winter lead to a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder . SAD can make you feel like a completely different person to who you are in the summer: hopeless, sad, tense, or stressed, with no interest in friends or activities you normally love. No matter how hopeless you feel, though, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your mood stable throughout the year.
Offer To Help With Everyday Tasks
With depression, day-to-day tasks can feel overwhelming. Things like laundry, grocery shopping, or paying bills can begin to pile up, making it hard to know where to start.
Your friend may appreciate an offer of help, but they also might not be able to clearly say what they need help with.
So, instead of saying Let me know if theres anything I can do, consider saying, What do you most need help with today?
If you notice their refrigerator is empty, say Can I take you grocery shopping, or pick up what you need if you write me a list? or Lets go get some groceries and cook dinner together.
If your friend is behind on dishes, laundry, or other household chores, offer to come over, put some music on, and tackle a specific task together. Simply having company can make the work seem less daunting.
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Let Each Other Know Wherever Youre At Is Ok Often
Depression can turn us into people who dont want to go anywhere or do anything. It can make us people who get angry easily. It can make us cry a lot all the standard things people picture when they think depression.
What we dont talk about as often is the excessive guilt and shame, which can both be a big part of the depression package.
When your partner feels like they are ruining your plans, not fun to be around, crying yet again, both may kick in.
Let your partner know that wherever theyre at is okay and you still love and support them. Then repeat. A lot.
When your partner texts that they dont want to go to the concert after all, a reply as simple as Ill miss you but I totally get it. Do you need me to bring you anything before I go? makes all the difference in the world, because it lets them know it really is okay to be wherever they are.
Exercise Is Something You Can Do Right Now To Boost Your Mood
Your fatigue will improve if you stick with it. Starting to exercise can be difficult when youre depressed and feeling exhausted. But research shows that your energy levels will improve if you keep with it. Exercise will help you to feel energized and less fatigued, not more.
Find exercises that are continuous and rhythmic. The most benefits for depression come from rhythmic exercisesuch as walking, weight training, swimming, or martial artswhere you move both your arms and legs.
Add a mindfulness element, especially if your depression is rooted in unresolved trauma or fed by obsessive, negative thoughts. Focus on how your body feels as you movesuch as the sensation of your feet hitting the ground, or the feeling of the wind on your skin, or the rhythm of your breathing.
Pair up with an exercise partner. Not only does working out with others enable you to spend time socializing, it can also help to keep you motivated. Try joining a running club, seeking out tennis partners, or enrolling in a soccer or volleyball league.
Take a dog for a walk. If dont own a dog, you can volunteer to walk homeless dogs for an animal shelter or rescue group. Youll not only be helping yourself but also be helping to socialize and exercise the dogs, making them more adoptable.
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Create New Enjoyment Spaces
Beurkens suggests looking for enjoyment outside of your relationship.
Enjoyment with other people or in other places may make you feel guilty at first if youre not used to it. However, being able to connect with joy can help you improve your mood, which in turn can help your spouse.
Creating new spaces to share with your spouse may help, too. Living with depression doesnt mean they cant experience joy and happiness, even though it may be challenging at times.
If theyre up for it, consider inviting them to do something out of the ordinary, or reconnect with some of the activities they used to enjoy.
Not having expectations regarding the outcome of these moments may be helpful. Its natural if they have a difficult time and cant seem to have a good time. If this is the case, try to continue finding alternative spaces for you to enjoy solo or with other people.
Questions To Help Support And Collaborate
It can be tempting to just do things for your partner when theyre in a depressive state, because one symptom of depression is lack of motivation. But Julie Fast warns that this may be a mistake, leading instead to increasing their sense of helplessness and dependency.
Karen and Julie suggest these questions to help your partner find their own way through their symptoms, with you there by their side:
- What helped the last time you were depressed like this?
- What do we need to do as a team to get through this rotten downswing?
- Whats the best way for me to help you?
- How are you doing with your medications? Are you feeling any difference?
- Who can we call to help us get through this tough time?
- What do you need from me?
- What changes can help you feel better right now?
Both experts also emphasized the use of collaborative language to help your partner feel supported. Avoid placing blame or full responsibility on your partner, but also avoid taking on all agency or responsibility for yourself.
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How To Deal With A Depressed Wife
This article was co-authored by Trudi Griffin, LPC, MS. Trudi Griffin is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Wisconsin specializing in Addictions and Mental Health. She provides therapy to people who struggle with addictions, mental health, and trauma in community health settings and private practice. She received her MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Marquette University in 2011.There are 10 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 16,600 times.
How Does Depression Affect Relationship
Living with a depressed spouse is never easy. Depression has a huge effect on your relationship with your spouse. Depression can bring about feelings of irritability, anger, and resentment towards their partnereven if they know its not the persons fault. It is important to remember that someone experiencing depression may not be aware or in control of these negative emotions however, this does not make them feel any less real.
These are some of the effects of depression on relationships:
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Is My Relationship Making My Depression Worse
Depression also loves to pick holes in your relationships. If somethings bothering you, it can be hard to tell if youve got a genuine reason to be upset, or if your depression is the one thats bothered.
Unless your partner is being abusive, its worth trying to discuss the issue. Make sure you keep things neutral rather than hurling accusations at them.
Try something like: We seem to be arguing quite a lot at the moment. Have you noticed that too? I feel upset about it and Id really like to talk it through. Dont say: Youre making me argue with you. You obviously cant handle my depression. Youre upsetting me. You dont love me anymore.
Sometimes you need an objective opinion, so try asking a friend or family member you trust, or post on The Mixs noticeboardsif you need someone whos outside of your life.
My depression has put me off sex
Loads of couples have mismatched sex drives, but depression can kill the passion altogether. If youre just not feeling frisky it could be down to the condition itself. Loss of libido, erection problems, and difficulties reaching orgasm are also common side effects of many antidepressants.
For some help with any of these issues, see our article on low sex drive here and our article on erection problems here.
Start by talking to your doctor so they can rule out any other medical issues. Embarrassing, we know, but theyre used to talking about these things. Loads of other patients will have had exactly the same issues .
He Never Makes Me Feel Bad About Canceling Plans And Just Goes With The Flow
As a wife with depression, my husband is incredibly supportive. One of the best things he does is tells me that its not my fault and theres nothing wrong with me when Im apologizing to him for being this way. He never makes me feel bad about canceling plans and just goes with the flow. He also does sweet little things, like he bought a journal and he writes in it every two to three days to tell me little silly things, or hell leave me a note.
We were watching Mr. Robot and I was in a downer mood, and the next day he showed up with a Qwerty for me.
Silly little things matter so, so much.msblckyeliner
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Try Psychological Techniques In Or Outside The Context Of Therapy
There are many strategies couples can use to stop depression from sucking the joy and fun from their relationship. After all, it can be disappointing when your man suddenly decides he doesnt feel well enough to go out on that evening you planned for weeks or says your idea for a fun trip sounds unpleasant or not worth it.
Therapist Lynn D. Johnson suggested a prediction activity, a technique he coaches his clients on. This involves asking your man to make a prediction about how pleasant or unpleasant he thinks an activity or event will be on a scale of one to 10 10 being amazing and zero being horrendous. When the event is done, ask him to rate how it actually was using the same scale.
If the number he offers is higher than than the prediction, its a great opportunity to show how depression does not need to stop a relationship from being fun and joyful. It might also chip away at the negative beliefs he uses to maintain the depression.
If he insists on not trying the original plan, there is a way to ensure you arent disappointed. Relationship expert April Masini recommended always having a Plan B, especially when dating a man with depression.
None of us are robots and just because we agree to something in a moment doesnt mean we wont feel differently in another moment, Masini said. Keeping commitments needs to be balanced with managing depression.
Ways To Take Care Of Yourself
When you are dealing with a partner with depression, you first need to take care of yourself. Caring for someone who is struggling takes every ounce of your strength and you need to feel that you have enough resources before you can offer any to them.
1. Get Support Depression is a lonely experience, even when you are not the one whos depressed. Its normal to frequently feel overwhelmed or helpless. Its common for you to feel secondhand depression because you spend so much time around a person who is depressed. Gathering up your resources and rallying your support system is essential to feeling like you can get through this. This might mean scheduling weekly phone calls with someone you trust, seeing a therapist yourself, or joining a support group.
The harmful effects of depression dont stop with your partner. They affect every aspect of your partners life and, most importantly, you.
2. Have Empathy For Yourself Remember that you cannot fix your partners depression, and it is not your fault that they are struggling. During hard moments, remind yourself that it requires courage to face depression head on and to choose to love your partner during their struggle. Allow yourself to reflect on your incredible capacity for love and care.
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Strengthen Your Support Network
If your spouse has depression, they may not be able to support you in the same capacity as they used to. They may want to, but some of the symptoms they live with may make it challenging for them at the moment.
You may find it helpful to find people outside of your relationship, such as close friends and family, who can be there for you if youre facing challenges of your own.
He Does Not Want To Be Depressed
Depression is not a choice. If any man with depression had a choice, he would choose to be rid of it.
One of the most hurtful things you can do to a man with depression is say it is his fault, that he could choose to be better if his will or character was stronger. Men have a responsibility to try to overcome their symptoms so they dont negatively affect the ones they love. Even the strongest men, however, are not immune to illness and cannot cure it alone.
If the behavior hurts you emotionally, you should know he most likely did not intend to, said matchmaker Cassie Moffit, who has successfully matched couples with mental illness. Knowing this will allow you to be more patient and understanding.
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Admit That You Cannot Cure Your Partners Depression
Your spouse needs your love, support, and concern, but these important qualities cant reverse depression any more than they can control blood sugar, ease arthritis pain, or clear out clogged arteries. Just as you wouldnt rely on love alone to cure a medical conditionor withdraw love because it didntdont expect that your feelings or attention will be able to alter your spouses off-kilter brain chemistry. Use your love to get help and to remind your partner of his or her intrinsic worth during this challenging time, Walfish advises.
Dear Therapist: My Boyfriends Depression Is Making Me Question Our Future Together
I want to be there for him, but his depressive episodes are difficult for me to handle.
My boyfriend and I are in our early 20s, and we recently moved in together after being in a long-distance relationship for four years. I’ve always known that he battles depression and has mild Aspergers. Recently, his depression has gotten much worse, and because this is the first time he has gotten very depressed since weve been physically together, I have no idea what Im doing. It is like Im walking on eggshells every time we speak, and if I say the wrong thing, he just shuts down. I cant push him for information or try to get him to help me with something around the house. I can barely get a normal conversation. I feel so alone.
I love him very much, and I plan to spend the rest of my life with him, but I dont know how to live feeling like the floor could come out from under me at any time. He is trying to get help, but he refuses to go on any medications or stick with a plan to get better for very long. I am so scared that this is going to always be his lifea constant roller-coaster ride controlled by depression. I want so much more for him, and for us.
I understand that theres nothing I can do to fix his depression. I just want to be there for him, but I cant sacrifice myself to his depression either. I need my boyfriend back. Help me, please.
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They Can Be More Irritable
All of the therapists Talkspace spoke to described men with depression as being more irritable on average than their female clients.
They can fly off the handle or have a short fuse, said therapist Roudabeh Rahbar. She also used words including moody and touchy to describe male clients.
Therapist Candice Christiansen said they often had more anger issues and struggled with being too serious about the subject of depression or anxiety.
Men often hide depression because they see it as a sign of weakness, Christiansen said, but the symptoms tend to seep out in the form of irritability and fatigue.
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.
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