3. You are trying to fix them.
If there’s one thing that someone doesn’t need when they are depressed, it’s their person trying to fix them.
What a person who is depressed needs more than anything from their partner when they are feeling depressed is for their partner to accept them as they are in the moment. To recognize that they are depressed, to have empathy for them, and to let them know that you are there for them.
Unfortunately, many people who live with people who are depressed, they don’t understand what the person needs. Instead of being willing to accept them as they are, to have empathy for them, the person who is not depressed just tries to fix that person.
They try to talk them out of their depression. They try to convince them of how good their life is, and how happy they are, and how many people love them. They try in vain, over and over and over, to fix the person instead of trying to support them at the moment.
What this does is it only makes the depressed person feel worse. They know that they are loved, they know they have a good life, they know all of this but they are depressed anyway.
You trying to show your person how good their world is will only make them more depressed.
So, if you find yourself trying to fix your person, perhaps it’s time to let them go. Unless they can do what they need to do to take care of themselves, they will never get better. And unless you can accept that trying to talk them out of their depression is making them feel bad about their depression, your person will struggle, you will be frustrated and your relationship will never be healthy.
4. They need to do this work themselves.
Many people come to me wanting to know what they can do to help their person who is struggling with depression. What I say to them is their personal need to do the work themselves.
I know that it wasn’t until I was able to accept that I was depressed that I was able to start working on the disorder.
Once I recognize that I was depressed, I took the steps to reach out to a doctor, to get a diagnosis, to start taking some medication, and to start doing the things that I needed to do to live a successful life.
Today, I take my meds faithfully. I do yoga, eat well, get enough sleep, spend time with those I love, and get massages every month. All of those things help me manage my depression.
It’s not cured but it’s under control. I never could have done this work if I had someone there trying to ‘fix me,’ trying to convince me that I needed help. I needed to figure this out on my own and eventually, I did.
This is another reason why it’s okay to break up with someone who is depressed. You can’t do the work for them, they need to do the work for themselves. And if they’re not willing to do that, it’s time for you to move on.
5. You have your own life to lead.
I know it might seem selfish, but you have one and only life. And if you’re spending it with someone who is depressed and isn’t willing to do anything about it, then you should seriously consider moving on.
Can you imagine spending the rest of your life as it is right now, living with a person who is depressed? Someone who doesn’t want to do anything, who isn’t interested in sex, who doesn’t take care of themselves, who doesn’t want to go out with friends?
Because this will be the rest of your life if you stay.