Living with a depressed partner is not easy and requires immediate help. Depression makes your partner seem distant, causing tension in your relationship. You may be lonely and burdened by piles of household chores because he/she is too lethargic to get it done.
You might feel upset because your partner will not feel better, or instead, you blame yourself for the presence of the disease as a third party in your relationship.
Depressed partner does not mean your relationship is the root of the problem, it requires help instead. If depression becomes a thorn in your relationship, now is the time for you to act, for the sake of your partner and yourself.
How to Help Depressed Couples?
Sometimes, a healthy partner will be the main role in this “rescue step”, because depression itself prevents the sufferer from acknowledging that he/she is sick or refusing to seek help. They might feel too hopeless or burden other people, or they might think that they can treat it themselves.
These steps can help you to support your depressed partner to deal with their depression.
1. Beware of The Changes in Behavior, No Matter How Small Is It
Depression can occur slowly, almost imperceptibly. Symptoms of depression also look different in men and women. So it might takes some time to see the pattern changes or be ready to accept depression as a possible cause.
In fact, you are the one who knows your partner the most. If you notice that your partner’s behavior, emotional / emotional upheaval, or the mindset is not as usual, ask yourself if this can be a symptom of depression.
Depression might be the reason why your partner works overtime for hours, starts drinking alcohol / drinking more, or is involved in drugs.
2. Don’t Wait Until They’re Deeply into Depression
Letting a depressed person sink before offering help is a total mistake. Severe depression will be more difficult to handle, easier to relapse, and will spread thorns in your relationship.
Waiting also increases the likelihood that your relationship will not last. Depression in a relationship increases the risk of separation into nine times more than usual!
In addition, the longer a healthy partner lives with a depressed partner, the higher your risk for depression. Depressed couples can sink deeper, so it is increasingly difficult to finally overcome depression.
Depression that gets worse and is not treated will increase the risk for alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, and even suicide. About 60 percent of people who attempt suicide have major depression. According to the research, depressed men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women.
3. Do Not Be Easily Offended When The Depression Relapses
One of the main symptoms of depression is a negative eyesight. Everything feels worse than it should, and on certain days it will be difficult for him to even just get out of bed in the morning.
This lethargy can be “transmitted” to other things in your relationship such as dating, having sex, or even chatting casually.
If your partner seems to have lost interest in your relationship, this can indeed be painful. Remember that your enemy is actually his depression, not your partner. So, don’t ignore them. If your partner is sick or hurt, you should not hate them because of that. Instead, you should be helping them to get treatment, right?
Now, depression is no different from other physical ailments. Supportive and loving relationships are very beneficial for someone suffering from depression. That includes understanding your partner, but that also means taking practical steps to deal with the problem.
Move to help your depressed partner get better, whether it’s walking together to go to work, delivering and accompanying him to a doctor’s appointment, or making sure he regularly takes medication.
4. Care and be a Good Listener
Encourage your partner to talk about how they feel, their thoughts or behavior, and listen without judgment. You might hear things that can scare you. For instance, a depressed partner might question their love for you, their interest in living together, or even their suicidal thoughts.
Ask them what they really need right now, and give them exactly what they want. Make a mental list of things that bring them joy and happiness and offer them when their depression recurs. Maybe it’s a marathon from their favorite TV series or movie, or snacking.
Understand what they really need during these times and then offer it to them.
Notes: You don’t have to always ask. You can always show up with their favorite ice cream and say “I went to the supermarket and remind me of you.”
5. Show Unconditional Love and Affection
Love has the power to cure everything. If your partner is having a bad day, tell them that you care by showing more love. It may feel more difficult to do this when they are relapsing and venting their negativity on you, but it is precisely at these times that they really need love.
No need to bombard them with expensive gifts or rags, just show your care and affection with a simple gesture that really speaks to them. It means this: If they value loving words more than physical touch, use the words – “i love you“, “What are you doing today?”, “Want me to play home?” and etc.
Show him/her what the true meaning of unconditional love. Because even if they don’t reciprocate your love right away, they can feel it.
6. Know When to Let Them be Alone
Sometimes your partner will say that they just want to be alone, but what they mean is, “I need you.”
Other times, they will tell you that they need distance and that is what they really need. It’s your job to interpret what they really need, and you can do that by asking questions and connecting them emotionally.
If your partner says they want distance, face it and try to establish physical contact (hold your hand or place your hand on their thigh) and “confirm” the statement by asking if they really want that solitude.
By creating physical connections, you show that you are willing to sit with them to overcome this. If they really need space, they will let you know. You can delay discussing the continuity of your relationship after he/she feels better.
7. Support Them Even in Their Worst Moments
The symptoms of depression are very bad. This is why they need your support, especially when they are down. And although his/her condition continues to deteriorate, do not turn off your support. Even if they try as hard as possible to get away from you (this is common for depressed patients to do it).
You must continue to support your partner. It’s easy for depression sufferers to forget that they have support around them, especially when they are in a state of depression. During this time, you must remind them of your support.
8. Find a Mental health Counsellor
Your partner needs your love, support and attention. But all of these important qualities cannot cure depression at all.
Use your love to get the right medical help and to remind your partner that they are valuable and loved by others around them. Depression can affect both of you. So as to deal with partner depression, in addition to seeing a medical doctor, consult a therapist or marriage counsellor who specializes in dealing with depression in couples.
Why is this important? You both might have different problems to deal with individually, or you / he might be faced with problems in dealing with obstacles from overcoming depression. It would be very helpful to have a counsellor that you can both meet each other at separate times later.
9. Take to The Doctor
Dealing with a depressed partner and in denial is not easy. However, by not overcoming this problem, your partner will continue to get sick or even worsen, and soon you will feel the impact too.
Depression cannot be cured without intensive care. So you can start the healing process as optimal as possible, approach your partner with attention and with a mature plan. Do not carelessly diagnose it by saying; “You’re depressed, huh?” or force it like “Why not you just go to the doctor!”.
If you do so, they will just more likely to deny the conditions by adding more excuses. If he/she does not want to consult a doctor alone, you should initiate first to call the doctor and explain that your partner is depressed.
Explain what are the symptoms. Then, make an appointment for him/her and accompany your partner at the consul. If your partner refuses, ask him to do it for you and your children, to make you feel better.
10. Find Support for Yourself
Don’t forget to get help for yourself too. Remember that depression can even approach you who are healthy. So, on the sidelines to help couples overcome the depression they face, it never hurts to break and pamper yourself.
Go watch the latest movies, have a cup of coffee in a café with friends, share with your best friend. Acknowledging depression in your relationship can be difficult.
Choose a trusted friend as a vent friend – it would be better if someone who has experienced depression in his life or in their family. And if you are overwhelmed with household chores because your partner can’t help, say yes when someone else offers help.
Remember to help immediately when you notice the depressed symptoms from your partner. Even a small action you do can create a big difference of what will be happening next. Don’t regret it after it’s too late.
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Read also: 15 Effective & Simple Ways to Relieve Stress