You're bound to have disagreements and shortcomings when you're in a relationship, but being with someone who has depression is much harder than that
Being in a relationship is far more difficult than usual if your partner is a troubled soul. Especially when you're in a relationship with someone dealing with depression, patience and understanding can be hard to come by. Nearly 20 percent of adults in the US go through depression according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Chances are that you might come across someone dealing with depression.
It's natural to feel lost when it comes to dealing with them but being supportive and empathetic towards their situation allows them to power through their hardship. The thing with depression is that it can hit without a warning, where your partner can go through a persistent feeling of anxiety, sadness, and pessimism.
You'll have to be with them when they need you and that's something you need to be ready for when you're with a person who's depressed. "Just like any other struggle, depression can add stress to a relationship," says Heather Lofton, Ph.D., staff therapist at The Family Institute at Northwestern University. Here are ways you can deal with people going through depression.
Not many people understand the seriousness of going through depression and might take the conditions lightly. However, when you've spent a considerable amount of time with someone going through depression, you understand that there's no way around it. Be empathetic about their situation and listen to what they have to say. Communication can almost always help a depressed person come to terms with their thoughts. When you're supportive, they'll find comfort and strength from words alone.
It's possible to maintain a relationship with someone whose soul is craving for affection and understanding when they have you by their side. They can recover from depression if they receive a sufficient amount of care from you along with counseling, medication and lifestyle changes. “People can get into situations that are absolutely heartbreaking five or 10 years down the road,” says Bobby. “I often see people fall in love with someone’s potential and they can enter into and maintain a relationship for years, chasing the dream of how great their lives will be when their partner makes changes,” says Heather Lofton. So having a future with them is definitely a possibility.
When you're dealing with depression, approach it with an open mind and don't be closed off to any suggestions. You'll get a better perspective on what your partner is going through once you understand the shortcomings and drawbacks of being depressed. "Depression is an alteration of brain functioning that results in people feeling terrible emotionally," says Lisa Marie Bobby, Ph.D., licensed marriage and family therapist, and author of Exaholics. You'll able to empathize and even speed along the process of their road to recovery.
Don't give a temporary solution to a long-lasting problem as that's going to be put off your partner. Putting the pressure on yourself to make them feel better can sometimes make them feel like you want them to get better for your sake, rather than theirs. Be supportive of their decisions while keeping your priorities in mind. “Take the pressure off yourself to be the sole provider of care and happiness,” says Lofton.
Be proactive in helping them to overcome their anxieties and fears. You could suggest making home-made dinners to perk up their mood and spend time with them. Encourage meditation classes or yoga as both of these can help in de-stressing your partner and will bring clarity to their thoughts. Even providing a space for them to collect their thoughts will make them feel loved and understood. Just remember that you're there to support them, rather than pushing them into recovery.
Sometimes they may isolate themselves and won't ask for help when it comes to depression because they need the space. Even you might find it difficult to understand their mood swings and how they feel but always be respectful towards their decisions. You don't have to be afraid of doing the right thing if you're just there with them. "When your partner seems down, being present physically and emotionally can be a great form of support,” says Lofton. Compassion goes a long way, so just be there and listen to them.