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 awhile, your other half might open up about their mental health issues, and you might have a million questions for them. What you can do to help her what this will mean for your relationship.
Depression is not just about “having the blues”
The stereotypical idea of depression is someone who feels sad all the time. But that’s not the only way she can reach 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.
It can mean sleeping a lot more or having episodes 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 difficulty concentrating.
She will feel paralyzed when she has to make decisions, even the simplest ones. And that will give him the impression of being overwhelmed with responsibility.
Tip: When your partner lashes out at you verbally, try not to take their mood personally. The way he acts a certain way doesn’t mean anything about who you are. It only shows how he / she is going through this particular moment. Don’t be afraid to get out in the fresh air or isolate yourself if you feel under attack.
You can’t ‘fix’ your partner
If there’s one thing you need to remember about dating someone with depression, it’s that getting over depression isn’t as easy as supporting someone after a bad day.
While there is much you can do to support your partner, know that you cannot make their health problems go away.
Know the limits of what you can do and what you cannot do.
Encourage and support him / her, but don’t put the weight of their depression on your shoulders.
Tip: Don’t give unsolicited advice.
Thoughts like “if he just focused on the positives and saw how lucky he is, he would 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 to.
Depression is a mental health problem, not just a “bad mood”. Remind your other half that you are there for him / her and that you believe in him / her.
READ ALSO: By trying to “fix” it, it is you who ends up suffering …
Your outings 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 stick to your plans. But if your partner insists on not moving, don’t force it.
You can only control your own actions, not theirs. If it is important for you to go out, explain your need to them and go out alone!
Don’t change your life to accommodate someone’s depression. This risks making him / her feel more guilty 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 be a not always very nice discussion.
So be mentally prepared to talk about suicide.
It is scary and uncomfortable to hear someone talk about their suicidal thoughts, but it is important to have an open dialogue.
But by figuring out what’s really going on in 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 is important to encourage your significant other to express these feelings and to get help.
Try to figure out what you can do to help her. Talking about what went 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 begins to do most of the household chores, such as cooking dinner, paying bills, and cleaning all the time.
It’s a bad idea ! Depression is an illness that can leave people who suffer from it drained of all energy, but you shouldn’t keep this trend going.
The truth is, there isn’t 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 agree to.
Everyone has a different threshold of tolerance, but you need to think about your expectations for the relationship from the start.
You must be asking yourself, “What am I accepting in this relationship and how do I set limits accordingly?”
Make it clear to your partner that he / she is playing an active role in their own recovery and set deadlines. For both !
For him / her, a deadline to take action and heal himself and for you, a “deadline of patience”.
The key in most situations is whether or not your partner can motivate themselves to get help.
Tip: Involve your other half in the daily chores. If it is possible, lighten them up but do not become their slave. Pushing your partner to participate not only relieves you, it will also make them active.
Be careful, not everything can be blamed on 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 suffer can be brutal, but it doesn’t mean you have to give up.
You can take action, at your own 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 you of course want to support your other half, knowing where to draw the line is important.
It is extremely important that both partners have good boundaries when a person is suffering from depression.
It is also important to recognize that you are not responsible for how your sweetheart is feeling and that their depression is not a reflection of who you are, nor of your relationship.
Take care of yourself too
As your partner’s closest confidant, you will be the one who knows what is really going on and you may notice that your partner is playing a role with others.
It can be painful. You may feel helpless, worried, or emotionally exhausted. These are normal emotions associated with loving or caring for someone with depression.
But don’t give up on 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 have to balance your own needs. It means taking care of yourself because it’s just as important as taking care of your other half.
Maintain realistic expectations and remember that you are one person. Take care of yourself and lift up your hearts!
Being with someone with depression doesn’t mean condemning yourself to stay with them
Some couples just aren’t meant to be.
If your partner’s depression or anything else about the relationship becomes too intense for you and the relationship and your own sanity are suffering, breaking up may be the right thing to do.
It’s perfectly okay to say to 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, fulfilling relationship, you and your partner both need to work on things.
You both need to learn to delegate, to offer support, to 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 overwhelming.
You will be tempted to feel guilty about 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 goes through a breakup, so be it.