Living with someone with depression: everything you need to know
Being in a relationship cannot be improvised, it takes work, a lot of work. And when you’re dating someone with depression, that statement takes on even more meaning.After a while, your significant other might open up about their mental health issues and you might have a million questions for them. From what you can do to help her to what it will mean for your relationship.
Depression isn’t just about “having the blues”
The stereotypical idea of depression is someone feeling sad all the time. But that’s not the only way she can touch people.
It can also cause mood swings, such as irritability or frustration.
In addition to emotional changes, you may see changes in your partner’s energy levels and eating habits.
This may mean sleeping a lot more or having bouts of insomnia. Maybe it’s overeating and unhealthy weight gain or the other way around. Or other things.
A depressed person may also suddenly have trouble concentrating.
She will feel paralyzed when she has to make even the simplest decisions. And that will make him feel overwhelmed with responsibilities.
Tip: When your partner verbally attacks you, try not to take their mood personally. The way he acts in a certain way doesn’t say anything about who you are. It just shows how he/she is going through that particular moment. Don’t be afraid to go out for fresh air or isolate yourself if you feel attacked.
It can impact your life
Depression itself and antidepressants can cause low libido, so don’t be surprised if your partner isn’t often in a naughty mood.
Don’t make him/her feel guilty or force him/her to have love when he/she doesn’t want to.
Tip: Reassure your significant other and tell them that love isn’t the most important part of the relationship. Take the opportunity to focus on better emotional closeness.
You can’t “fix” your partner
If there’s one thing you need to remember about dating someone with depression, it’s that overcoming depression isn’t as easy as supporting someone after a bad day.
While you can do a lot to support your partner, know that you can’t make their health issues go away.
Know the limits of what you can and cannot do.
Encourage and support them, but don’t put the full weight of their depression on your shoulders.
Tip: Don’t give unsolicited advice.
Thoughts like, “If he just focused on the positives and realized how lucky he is, he’d feel so much better!” are to be avoided at 1000%.
You want to help, that’s understandable, but try not to offer your “advice” for free. Wait until your partner asks you.
Depression is a mental health issue, not just “a bad mood”. Remind your significant other that you are there for him/her and that you believe in him/her.
Your dates together may not be frequent
Loss of interest in activities is a symptom of depression, so don’t be surprised or offended if your partner would rather stay home than go out.
Tip: The first step is to encourage her to step out of her comfort zone and follow your plans. But if your boyfriend or girlfriend insists on not moving, don’t force it.
You can only control your own actions, not theirs. If it’s important for you to go out, explain your need and go out alone!
Don’t change your life to accommodate someone’s depression. This may make him/her feel guilty more than anything else.
He/she will try to push you away: don’t be intimidated
Because depression can lead to feelings of detachment, you might feel like your partner is starting to lose interest in you. Or he/she will start pushing you away.
If this happens, don’t give up and discuss it.
It is important to talk about the process, even if it may not always be a pleasant discussion.
So be mentally prepared to talk about suicide.
It’s scary and uncomfortable to hear someone talk about suicidal thoughts, but it’s important to have an open dialogue.
But by figuring out what’s really going through your partner’s mind, you can determine if dying is a fantasy they’ll never act on, or if there’s a real emergency.
Tip: It’s important to encourage your significant other to express these feelings and get help.
Try to figure out what you can do to help her. Talking about what has gone wrong in the past can be just as helpful as knowing what is working.
Conversely, don’t let him/her depend on you.
In some couples, the “healthy” partner starts doing the heavy lifting, like cooking dinner, paying bills, and doing housework, all the time.
It’s a bad idea ! Depression is an illness that can certainly leave people who suffer from it drained of all energy, but you should not maintain this tendency.
The truth is, there’s not much you can do to help your partner because their well-being is ultimately in their hands.
That’s why you should never feel guilty for setting limits on what you want and don’t accept.
Everyone has a different tolerance level, but you need to think about your expectations for the relationship from the start.
You have to ask yourself, “What am I accepting in this relationship and how do I set boundaries around it?” »
Make it clear to your partner that he/she is taking an active role in his/her own recovery and set deadlines to meet. For both !
For him/her, a deadline to take action and get treatment and for you, a “patience deadline”.
The key in most situations is whether or not your partner can motivate themselves to get help.
Tip: Involve your other half in daily tasks. If possible, lighten them up but don’t become their slave. Pushing your partner to participate will not only relieve you, it will also make them active.
Be careful, not everything can be put on the back of depression, so set limits.
Things to ABSOLUTELY keep in mind
Having strategies for dating someone with depression is just as important as knowing what depression is.
Seeing someone you love in pain can be brutal, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up.
You can act, at your level, by balancing your emotional needs as well as those of your partner.
You are their partner, not their therapist
Taking on the role of shrink can be one of the very things that leads to bitterness in a relationship.
While of course you want to support your significant other, it’s important to know where to draw the line.
It is extremely important that both partners have good boundaries when someone is suffering from depression.
It’s also important to recognize that you aren’t responsible for how your sweetie is feeling, and that her depression isn’t a reflection of who you are or your relationship.
Take care of yourself too
As your partner’s closest confidant, you’ll be the one who knows what’s really going on and you may notice your partner playing a role with others.
It can be painful. You may feel helpless, worried, or emotionally drained. These are normal emotions associated with loving or caring for someone with depression.
But do not give up your own life and interests.
You need to recharge your batteries by doing things that fill you with joy and energy . Without any guilt.
Count on your friends and some family members.
As a “support” partner, you absolutely must balance your own needs. It means taking care of yourself because it’s just as important as taking care of your significant other.
Maintain realistic expectations and remember that you are only one person. Take care and lift your hearts!
Being with a Depressed Person Doesn’t Doom You to Stay With Them
Some couples just aren’t meant to be.
If your partner’s depression or anything else about the relationship is getting too much for you and the relationship and your own mental health are suffering, breaking up may be the right thing to do.
It’s perfectly ok to tell yourself, “I want what’s best for him/her, but I have to do what’s best for me.”
Keep in mind that if you want to have a healthy and fulfilling relationship, you and your partner both need to work on things.
You both need to learn how to delegate, offer support, use a new language of love, etc.
Relationships are often complicated and people come with their share of illnesses, quirks, past traumas and internal fights.
Sometimes it’s scary, difficult and insurmountable.
You will be tempted to feel guilty for adding to the sum of their problems, but remember one thing: you are not responsible for their condition.
It is everyone’s duty to ensure their own happiness so if it comes through a breakup, so be it.