Is your partner suffering from depression?
Every relationship is bound to go through an array of challenges, hurdles, and setbacks. You either succeed and sustain the togetherness or you witness the breakdown. However, the challenge gets quite intense when it comes to dating someone who is suffering from depression. The job is not easy at all. Yes, depression is real. And it’s that dark and empty place where nobody wants to be in. Its a very painful, confusing and helpless feeling that you go through when you have to watch your loved ones suffer. Therefore, we are going to talk about the things that you need to remember if your partner is suffering from depression.
It’s a very stupid and naive thing to assume that someone can actually stop being depressed if they want to. Nobody wants to be depressed intentionally and neither can they just undo depression from their lives. Depression is not something that one consciously chooses.
If you are in a relationship with someone who is battling depression, and you want to be there for them as a supportive partner then the first and the most primary thing that you need to do is to accept and acknowledge the fact that a mental disorder like depression exists and can cast life-altering effects on its sufferers.
The positive aspect is that people suffering from depression have a full chance of recovery if given proper treatment and care. They too can lead a very healthy and happy life. Well, it can be both challenging and rewarding when you are taking care of someone who is suffering from depression. It’s not expected out of you to heal your partner and cure their depression, but you could be a little empathetic and keep a couple of things in mind that are definitely going to serve as your ultimate guidelines.
Delving deeper into the term “Depression”
According to American Psychiatric Association (APA) –
“Depression (major depressive disorder) is a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Fortunately, it is also treatable. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.”
Depression is a commonly encountered mood disorder. The sufferers experience nagging feelings of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, and tend to lose interest in the activities that they once enjoyed. Some of the physical symptoms caused by depression involve chronic pain and digestive issues.
According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR), these are the following symptoms of Depression :
1. Depressed mood most of the day.
2. Diminished interest or pleasure in all or most activities.
3. Significant unintentional weight loss or gain.
4. Insomnia or sleeping too much.
5. Agitation or psycho-motor retardation noticed by others.
6. Fatigue or loss of energy.
7. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive guilt.
8. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness.
9. Recurrent thoughts of death
The symptoms must last for at least two weeks or more in order to be determined if the patient is suffering from depression.
No matter how tough it may get, no matter how helpless it may seem, you must not lose hope too soon and try following these 6 takeaways, which will eventually guide you to support and take care of the loved one, who is battling depression.
Here are the 6 things you must remember if your partner is suffering from depression.
1. Do thorough research on depression
If you remain ignorant about the folds and grooves of the disorder then you won’t be able to provide significant help to your partner. All too often, it happens that the patient fails to realize that they are suffering from a serious mental disorder like depression. This lack of awareness can be life-threatening for them. Therefore, its important that you educate yourself and your partner about it. Do some research, take the help of DSM 5 or consult a professional therapist and find out about the onset, causes, symptoms, and treatment of depression.
You will gain a wider perspective and understand what your partner is going through, their needs, and their crisis. You will also develop the ability to anticipate the issues that your partner may face in the future. Firstly, look out for the signs and symptoms of depression if you suspect that your partner is suffering from it. Thereafter, take them to a professional psychologist or a psychiatrist for proper clinical diagnosis. Its never too late to learn and armor yourself in order to combat depression along with your partner.
2. Encourage treatment and be a part of the recovery
Once you have done extensive research on the disorder, you will automatically be aware of the numerous treatment mechanisms that are applied by different Schools of Psychology. Perhaps you may then consult a professional and find out the most eclectic approach for your partner. Therapy, medication, support groups, and similar measures have been found as the most helpful approaches for treating depression. You must encourage your partner to seek therapy, and if possible, accompany them and be an active part of their treatment and prognosis.
3. Be prepared for the mood swings and pessimism
Depression gives rise to mood swings, pessimism, and extreme emotions.
If your partner is suffering from depression then you must gear up for all the tantrums, mood shifts and exaggerated emotions that they are bound to throw at you. A person suffering from depression generally dwells in the extremes, and it’s difficult for them to think and behave rationally no matter how annoying it might get for the people around to tolerate such kind of behavior. One minute, your partner may exhibit an outburst of anger, and the next minute, they might lose the will to live. Smallest of the things can trigger loudest of emotions.
Apathy is one of the most prominent symptoms of depression. The person loses interest in the things or activities that they enjoyed previously. After you are done educating yourself about this particular disorder, the exposure will significantly help you to predict, prevent and handle such mood swings and drastic shifts in emotions.
Give them their space and be patient.
It’s okay if your partner is having a bad day, and the same goes for you. People suffering from depression are likely to have a series of bad days. During this not-so-settling phase, give them the space that they seek and create your boundaries as required. Being in a relationship and enjoying the sheer joy of togetherness does not necessarily call for you to compromise on your individuality. You need to keep it in mind that the recovery typically involves an unending set of trials and errors. You need to be compassionate, empathetic and never take it upon yourself that it’s your fault.
5. One small goal at a time
Depression can actually make someone stop leaving their beds in the morning. It’s such a toxic and debilitating disorder that it can strip people of all their cheerfulness and optimism. Depressed people generally lack the basic motivation and will to go on with the activities of daily life. Therefore, it’s important that being a supportive partner, you must set certain small goals for your partner to achieve on a daily basis.
While the bigger ones might be a bit hard for them to achieve, focusing on the smaller tasks might seem easier for them to pull through. It can start from taking a shower daily or eating healthy or going to bed early or simply going for regular walks. You can add anything that is remotely positive and achievable by a person suffering from depression. Eventually, you will notice that these tiny goals actually have a lot of power in pulling your partner out of a major depressive episode.
6. Check for suicide signs
Patients suffering from depression are always overwhelmed by the negative and painful emotions. They find it extremely difficult to deal with such negative emotions, eventually succumbing to their only perceived gateway from such agony – suicide. Major depressive episodes increase the chances of suicide. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most commonly applied measure for a wide range of mental disorders, including depression. Suicide can be prevented once you are aware of its signs and know how to stop the sufferers from attempting it. At any given point, if you feel that your partner is suicidal then never leave them alone and seek professional help immediately.
Warning signs of suicide :
- Recent trauma or dealing with major grief – It might involve the loss of a loved one or separation
- Making preparations for suicide – Keeping weapons or things that might help them in causing self-harm
- Sudden calmness or changes in personality and appearance – Excessive anger, irritability, and reckless behavior
- Withdrawal – It’s one of the leading causes of suicide. It involves shutting down from the rest of the world, avoiding social activities, and with time, losing reality context.
- A constant feeling of helplessness and hopelessness
- Talking about killing themselves or threatening suicide
It’s true that being a supportive partner to someone suffering from depression can be quite taxing and emotionally draining. But you need to constantly remind yourself that your love for them goes beyond the shackles of their mental illness. It’s a struggle that you need to fight, endure and succeed together. Relationships can blossom into marriage or lifetime partnership even though one of the significant others is suffering from depression.
Along with your partner’s mental health, you should also take care of your own mental well-being in order to sustain a healthy relationship. Make your partner realize that they don’t have to go through this difficult time alone, and don’t ever forget to shower them with unconditional love.
You may also like:
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How To Help Your Partner (And Yourself) Overcome Depression
A Woman’s Struggle With Depression And How To Beat It
A Guide to Spotting the Signs of High Functioning Depression in Yourself or Someone Else
Seven Ways To Deal With Depression
How to Be an Effective Partner When Your Girlfriend (or Partner) has Depression
7 Warning Signs Of Depression That You Need To Know