How To Help A Partner Living With Depression

Depression is known to affect different areas of a person’s life, including the dynamics of relationships.

Living with a partner with depression may pose some challenges, so it’s essential to know how to offer appropriate support.

This process necessitates compassion, endurance, and a thorough strategy that takes individual needs into account.

Read on to explore tips and perspectives to assist you in supporting your significant other during their recuperation process, cultivating a kind and strong bond amidst the difficulties presented by depression.

Signs That Your Partner Is Depressed

Recognizing and understanding the symptoms is the first step to support a partner with depression.

Understanding what depression feels like will help you develop empathy, which will make your partner feel comfortable talking to you about their feelings.

The following are the signs you should know to support a loved one with depression.

SignExamples
Changes in moodPersistent feelings of sadness
Irritability or feeling angry over minor matters
WithdrawalSocial withdrawal
Isolation
Avoidance of responsibilities
Reduced cognitive abilitiesDifficulty concentrating
Trouble remembering things
Problems in decision-making
Negative self-talkExpressing feelings of worthlessness and guilt
A pessimistic outlook on the future
Decreased energy levelsConstant fatigue
Reduced productivity
Changes in sleeping patternsInsomnia
Excessive sleeping
Low-quality, disturbed sleep
Appetite changesEating less
Eating excessively
Significant weight loss or gain
Physical symptomsAches and pains
Digestive problems
Loss of libido
Suicidal thoughtsFeelings of desperation
Constantly thinking about death 
Feeling like a burden to others
Changes in daily habitsNeglecting personal hygiene 
Decline in work or academic performance

If your partner has severe symptoms, such as suicidal thoughts, it’s crucial to seek professional help.

What To Do If Your Partner Is Depressed?

The first thing you can do to make your partner feel better if they are depressed is to encourage open communication.

Create a safe space for them to express their thoughts and emotions. Once they are comfortable, the whole process to help them battle depression will become easier.

Other things you can do to  help a depressed spouse include:

  • Express empathy. Validate your partner’s feelings and reassure them that it’s normal to feel the way they do.
  • Be patient with them. Recovery from depression takes time. Avoid pressuring your partner or expecting quick results.
  • Support them in daily activities. Depression can make daily tasks challenging. Offer assistance in household or errands.
  • Promote a healthy lifestyle. Encourage healthy habits like exercise and sufficient sleep.
  • Encourage social connections. Depression often leads to social withdrawal. You can provide gentle nudges to participate in social activities together.
  • Monitor for danger signs. Keep an eye out for signs of severe depression or suicidal thoughts.
  • Encourage professional help for depression. Online and traditional clinics offer appointments with healthcare professionals who can create personalized treatment plans. Suggest your partner seek help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist or counselor.

Supporting someone with depression can be emotionally draining. So, don’t forget to take care of your own mental health.

With a healthy mind, you will be able to help your loved one during tough times and maintain your own mental well-being.

Things To Say To A Depressed Partner

When supporting someone with depression, thoughtful word choices can have a lasting impact on their mental health.

Here are some things you could say to cheer up your depressed spouse:

  • “I’m here for you, no matter what.”
  • “You’re not alone; we’ll get through this together.”
  • “It’s normal to feel this way, and it’s normal to ask for help.”
  • “I care about you and your well-being.”
  • “If you need someone to talk to, I’m here to listen.”

Things Not To Say To A Depressed Partner

Here are the examples of things you should avoid saying to a depressed partner :

  • “Snap out of it” and “Just be happy.”
  • “It’s all in your head; you’re overreacting.”
  • “You have nothing to be depressed about.”
  • “Others have it worse; be grateful for what you have.”
  • “Stop being so negative all the time.”

What If Your Partner Denies Having Depression?

If your partner denies that they have the symptoms of depression, it is important to approach the situation with understanding and empathy.

Denial is a common coping mechanism, a phenomenon where people with mental illness don’t want to confront or accept what they are going through.

If your partner is hesitant to admit to mental health struggles, encourage open communication and express your concern for their well-being.

Offer support and let them know you are there for them whenever they are ready to talk. However, avoid pressure and be supportive in their journey.

A Final Note

It takes time, tolerance, empathy, and a readiness to provide continuous support to someone who is depressed.

It’s important to promote dialogue, establish a judgment-free environment, and support getting professional assistance when required.

Consider that your contribution is to provide support, not to replace medical attention from a professional. 

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