How to help your partner when you have depression
Depression is tough on a relationship. A psychologist explains how to help a depressed spouse, signs of depression and how to strengthen your relationship. Clinical psychologist Adam Borland, PsyD , shares how you can help a depressed spouse — and yourself — so you can get through the tough times, together. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: How to Help a Depressed Friend or Partner
SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Helping a friend struggling with depression: Tips from Dr. Randy AuerbachContent:
5 Signs That Depression Is Eroding Your Relationship
When you're in a relationship, whatever your partner deals with, you deal with. And vice versa. So if your partner is depressed , it's imperative that you know how to handle it in a healthy, helpful, and supportive way — for the sake of each partner's mental health.
Watching your partner go through something difficult like depression can be tough on you both of you. You might not know what to do or say. And they might feel bad that they're "putting you through it. Even by simply being there, and lending an understanding shoulder to cry on, you can make a world of difference. Therefore, it is so important for loved ones to support those in their lives who are struggling with depression.
By taking care of yourself, and knowing how to take care of your partner — even in little ways — you can truly support them in a way that's actually helpful. Here are a few tips from the experts:. First and foremost, it'll be important to educate yourself about depression , what it is, and how it works. Depression might cause your partner to have a negative view of themselves, the world, and their future, Reimer says, so it'll be important to validate those feelings rather than dismiss them, while also assuring them they aren't alone.
Not everyone with depression will want to or be able to talk about their condition. But if your partner needs to talk, try to be fully present for it. Listen without judgment. If your partner wants to open up and vent or talk about their feelings, be there to listen, but let them know it's also OK if they don't want to. Make space for whatever emotion they are feeling. If your partner is struggling to complete even the simplest of tasks, that doesn't mean you should swoop in and do things for them.
Don't turn them into a victim. Even if your partner wants to be left alone, or cancels plans on the regular, don't give up when it comes to inviting them out.
Johnson, Ph. People with depression can be hypersensitive to the effect that this illness has on their loved ones and hearing that their loved ones want them around can be so refreshing — even if they aren't able to participate all the time.
It can be tough to watch your partner roll their back on you, cancel plans, or ask to be left alone. But try not to take it personally. And better yet, allow them that alone time.
Understanding that and not taking it personally will allow space for your partner to take the time that they need. When your partner is sitting around with slumped shoulders and a long face, it can be tempting to try to rationalize or explain why they shouldn't feel so bad.
And yet, it's important to remember that they're not just in a bad mood — they're depressed. And trying to "cheer them up" won't always help. They likely already know that and feel guilty about it. You saying they have nothing to be depressed about can come off as dismissive. So try to come from a place of empathy instead. Depression can be tough on you, the partner, so make sure that you're setting up healthy boundaries for yourself, and maintaining your own self-care.
But also be sure to manage your own reactions to your partner so that your feelings don't get hurt. Understand that your partner may not be able to be as emotionally available to you during this time. When you see someone you love hurting, it can be tempting to try to rush their recovery along, or demand that they snap out of it. But sometimes there is no quick fix for depression, and all you can do is be there and support them along the way. It might be tough for your partner to envision a brighter future, so go ahead and do it for them.
Include them in your dream. Whenever you can, have a convo with your partner, and ask how they'd like to be treated, what they find helpful and supportive, etc. Get an idea of some of the ways your partner tried to work their way out of that place so you can help provide guidance and encouragement. While you can't fix your partner all on your own, you can certainly help them on their journey to feeling better — even if it's just by making a phone call, running an errand, or scheduling an appointment with a therapist.
Sometimes, taking that first step in treatment is the most challenging. Whether it's taking medication, seeking therapy, or both, encourage your partner to seek treatment. Even though it might seem like your partner is never going to get well, don't give up on them. By taking care of yourself, and doing what you can to support your partner, you can both get through this depression together.
Here are a few tips from the experts: 1. Educate Yourself. Empower Them In Little Ways. Validate Their Feelings. Keep Focusing On The Future. Be A Resource. Encourage Them To Seek Treatment. Don't Give Up On Them.
15 Ways To Support A Partner With Depression That Are Actually Helpful
Understanding how depression affects your partner can be key to building a healthy, supportive relationship that cares for the mental wellbeing of both partners. Depression can cause people to withdraw, behave differently or become more irritable. Common symptoms include insomnia, feelings of worthlessness and loss of interest in activities. It can even lead to physical aches and pains. Living with depression for a longer period of time can take a toll on your partner's levels of energy, motivation and passion.
When your spouse is depressed, your marriage can become depressed. You need to keep in mind that even the loveliest and happiest people can be pulled into the depression corner within no time. But, what is depression? It goes beyond the daily sadness that someone may feel once in a moment.
How to help a depressed spouse
Standing on the sidelines when a partner battles depression can feel like a helpless experience. You might feel confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed. You are not alone. Depression is an isolating illness that can negatively impact relationships and leave loved ones feeling helpless and afraid. The mood in major depression is often described as sad, hopeless, discouraged, or feeling down, but it can also include persistent anger. Angry outbursts and blaming others is common. Social withdrawal and lack of interest or pleasure are common among depressed people. Family members notice that depressed people seem not to care about finding joy anymore. All of these factors can make it difficult to know how to help a depressed partner.
When Depressed Husbands Refuse Help
Try these: time management relationship advice healthy lifestyle money wealth success leadership psychology. When you married your partner, you agreed to love and support them for better or for worse, through sickness and in health. Though you may have found it easy to maintain your connection when you were both in a good mental space, your vows are tested when one of you experiences emotional issues. Relationships take work, and those that are marked by a depressed spouse take even more work than usual.
Karen S. She no longer enjoyed her favorite activities, preferring to spend weekends sleeping in and watching TV. Their sex life was nonexistent.
How to Help Your Partner Through Their Depression
To the outside world, Emme lived a charmed life. She was a successful model, creative director of her own clothing line, a television host, lecturer, and mother of a beautiful baby girl. Phillip Aronson, the wonderful man she married, found himself in a downward spiral of depression, even attempting suicide at one point to escape his pain. Phil was always an energetic partner, excited to go to work each morning either to the showroom to check on the latest graphic designs for the Emme line or to attend meetings about some new project.
When your spouse has depression , you might be very worried, and feel utterly helpless. After all, depression is a stubborn, difficult illness. Your partner might seem detached or deeply sad. They might seem hopeless and have a hard time getting out of bed. They might be irritable with a swiftly shrinking fuse.
5 Ways to Offer Support When Your Spouse Is Depressed
When you're in a relationship, whatever your partner deals with, you deal with. And vice versa. So if your partner is depressed , it's imperative that you know how to handle it in a healthy, helpful, and supportive way — for the sake of each partner's mental health. Watching your partner go through something difficult like depression can be tough on you both of you. You might not know what to do or say. And they might feel bad that they're "putting you through it. Even by simply being there, and lending an understanding shoulder to cry on, you can make a world of difference.
If you are in a relationship with someone who has depression, you are likely struggling with a mix of emotions and hosts of questions. What's it really like to feel depressed? What can you do to help them through hard times? How will their symptoms and treatment impact your relationship?
As men, we like to think of ourselves as strong and in control of our emotions. When we feel hopeless or overwhelmed by despair we often deny it or try to cover it up. But depression is a common problem that affects many of us at some point in our lives, not a sign of emotional weakness or a failing of masculinity. It affects millions of men of all ages and backgrounds, as well as those who care about them—spouses, partners, friends, and family.