One of the most beautiful aspects of being in a relationship is the idea that you get to share and connect with another individual on an intimate level that is only yours. It’s like a little secret the two of you share — a world that is only yours to have and to hold. One of the many tricky parts of this, however, is trying to understand the other when they’re in a place you’ve never dealt with before.
When your significant other is suffering from depression, it can prove to be a significant challenge, creating what seems to be a lot of distance between the two of you. But the important thing to remember during moments like this is that it doesn’t mean your relationship is in danger. So long as you confront it head on, and together, you can weather the storm and come out stronger than ever. This is how:
Don’t Take It Personally
It can be difficult not to take your partner’s symptoms of depression personally, but it’s important that you remember that how they’re acting is not a reflection of who you are, or how they necessarily feel about you. During depression, everything seems to feel much more significant than it actually is. A person suffering from depression may exhibit signs of lethargy and disinterest, which keeps them from feeling motivated to do their normal feel-good activities with you, be intimate, or even simply get out of bed. This can, in turn, feel very personal, as you struggle to live your life knowing you cannot be touched, smiled at, or enjoy things you typically like with your partner during this difficult time.
But again, it has nothing to do with you. In fact, it’s extremely easy to mistake this interaction with your partner suffering from depression as an unhealthy relationship. This is because it goes against the grain of what typically signifies a healthy, successful relationship: communication, a healthy sex life, the desire to explore and adventure together, positivity, support, and more.
So what do you do? It’s not like you can give up your own wellbeing in order to fix someone else’s. It’s time to come up with a plan.
Together, You And Your Partner Can Develop A Plan To Tackle Depression
Just because your partner’s depression isn’t your fault doesn’t mean you can’t help them get treatment. Being loving and supportive is one of the best things you can do, so it’s important that you are extremely understanding of their negative energy. But if you want to help them, they need to be willing and able to let you, so continuing to communicate remains key.
How can you do this? You can take practical steps that will help deal with the underlying issue at hand. You can begin by educating yourself about depression, encouraging them to stick to their goals, and even tracking their progress. And one of the best ways you can help is to go to therapy together. Mental help professionals come from an outside approach that is equal parts informative as much as it is comforting and healing.
Allow Your Partner To Have Their Bad Days
Sometimes just listening and allowing is key. You may not even have to respond as much as it is about listening. Getting treatment for depression can prove to provide a lot of breakthroughs, but don’t forget that, while there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and a lot of positivity along the way, it doesn’t mean the switch can simply be turned on or off as simply as you may think. Your partner may, and likely will, have bad days, and when that happens, you cannot get down on yourself or your partner.
It’s easy to feel hopeless, or even angry, and react by trying to push your partner to get back on track. But a single bad day doesn’t mean everything you’ve both worked toward was a waste. And if you do act poorly, you may send them back in the other direction, so be careful with your words and your actions during times like these, and just try to simply give them their space.
Become Aware Of What Each Of You Are Capable of Handling
Just because you may feel like you have all the tools to get through this difficult time, doesn’t mean it’s not going to get the best of you on occasion. But try to become aware of the situations and things that stress you out and bring you down, and, along with your partner, communicate what these triggers are (for them as well), and make a game plan that you will not cross these boundaries unless it is communicated that it is now a safe place.
This also means identifying what you need to be healthy, happy, supported, and supportive. This might mean that you have a designated time each day to be alone; to dive into a hobby that makes you feel complete. It might even mean being extremely sociable, surrounding yourself with strangers at a yoga class or close friends over dinner.
Depression is a slippery slope, and as someone who is dealing with it as an outsider, it can feel like you are constantly walking on egg shells, but it’s important to open up the lines of communication, make a plan, and connect throughout the struggle.
This also means letting your partner know when you feel unhappy, too. Pick and choose what you feel is worth discussing, and always ensure you are not keeping anything bottled up that might explode in a more detrimental way later. If you are capable of internally working through the smaller things, that might be a good idea, but never let your wellbeing suffer. Together, with open minds and open hearts, you can find your way to a place at which you both feel comfortable, happy, and healthy.