Dealing with a loved one who is struggling with depression can be a maze of emotion. As someone who truly cares, you want to be there for your loved one and help them manage all of the issues that surround their depression. The problems that may arise can be complicated even further if you are dating someone with depression. Added to the worries about your partner are concerns about the relationship itself, especially if your significant other is sending you mixed messages or struggling to communicate their wants, needs, and feelings.
It’s important to remember that, as some who loves a person with depression, you are not alone. There are some things that you can and should do to help your partner, yourself, and the quality of the relationship.
Know the symptoms of depression.
Unfortunately, many people see depression as simple, generalized sadness. This mischaracterization often leads to advice about “getting happy” or “thinking positive thoughts.” For someone with clinical depression, this is less than helpful. Depression does include feelings of sadness, emptiness, or tearfulness. But it also can include anger, irritability, and frustration.
Those suffering from depression may experience changes in appetite or sleep habits. They may find it difficult to organize their thinking or speech and may have trouble making decisions or remembering things. They may lose interest in their normal activities, even ones they previously enjoyed. Depression may also lead to unexplained physical symptoms, including pain or headaches, overall restlessness or limited concentration when completing tasks. These issues are often severe enough to cause problems at work, school, in social activities, and within relationships, because the person with depression is generally miserable or irritable without really knowing why.
Talk to your loved one.
It’s never easy to discuss difficult topics, and this is especially true when the person may be less than receptive. It is difficult to tell your loved one that you believe their behavior is adversely affecting them and that they require assistance in coping with their feelings. But the symptoms your loved one is experiencing, including feelings of worthlessness or guilt, a fixation on past failures, frequent or recurrent suicidal thoughts, and overwhelming hopelessness, are something that must be managed by a professional, so it’s important to use some