Love is a great feeling, but loving someone with depression can sometimes be difficult. People with depression suffer from what seems like some invisible demon, and you cannot protect them no matter what you try. Listening to someone you love constantly express negative feelings about themselves or even allude to harming themselves can tear your heart out, but what do you do?
When you are in love with someone who suffers from depression, they feel extremely fragile. You want to protect them and help relieve them of the pain, but trying to find a way to do so can often see impossible.
Loving someone with depression can take a toll on you and on your relationship. You savor the moments when you get to experience your love in their best light — relaxed and happy. When the depression is present, they can seem distant and like nothing you do makes them happy. How can you love someone with depression?
How to Love Someone With Depression
Developing and maintaining a healthy relationship is a constant challenge for anyone, but depression adds another dimension. Here are some tips for keeping yourself healthy and your relationship balanced when you love someone with depression:
- Stay positive - A cheery disposition will not cure your partner’s depression, but it may help sustain your spirits and maintain your relationship. Focus on the positive qualities your partner has, especially when they are not as evident because of the depression. Instead of letting your partner’s depression dampen your spirits, set an example of positivity.
- Be compassionate - Depression is an illness that requires treatment like any other. Your partner cannot just cheer up. Depression is more than just a bad mood. Try to remember that your partner feels worse about the depression than you do and probably more frustrated that they can’t just shake it.
- Be supportive - You can’t cure your partner’s depression. All you can do is try to comfort them while they are going through it. Think of it like a cold. If your partner had a bad cold, you might make them chicken soup and wrap them in a warm blanket. These efforts would show your support, although they would not cure the cold. Ask your partner what they need and how you can comfort them, recognizing that you will not end the depression. Just remember, that your support is not a substitute for professional help if necessary.
- Find balance - The key to a healthy relationship is balancing the needs of each partner with the needs of the relationship. When you are in a relationship with someone with depression, their needs may seem more important than yours. It is okay to tip the balance of the relationship toward a partner in need, but this cannot be a long-term condition. You have to find ways to get your own needs met in the relationship, or you will feel resentful, and the relationship will suffer.
This advice for loving someone with depression can help save your relationship and keep yourself healthy. Allowing the depression to infect your relationship would be counterproductive to your desire to help your partner.
Helping a Partner With Depression Seek Help
Depression is a serious mental health diagnosis that may require professional treatment. Approaching the topic of seeking help with your partner may be a delicate subject, though. There are many negative stigmas attached to mental health issues and seeking treatment for them. Someone with depression likely already feels bad about themselves, and the suggestion that they seek help may be met with anger, guilt and shame.
When you suggest professional treatment, do so with love and compassion. Reinforcing the idea that depression is a disease may help. If your partner had a broken bone, you would take them to the hospital for treatment. Just because the part of them that is not working right isn’t visible doesn’t mean medical treatment isn’t necessary.
One option for depression treatment is outpatient therapy. A counselor or other mental health professional could meet with your partner regularly to work on their depression. This type of treatment is usually painless and performed in an office. It consists of conversations and mental exercises designed to relieve the depression and get your partner back to enjoying life again.
Contact Brookhaven Retreat for Help With Depression
For more focused treatment for depression, you could opt for inpatient treatment. This is where your partner takes time to focus on getting well and developing strategies for lifelong mental wellness. During their stay, they will receive different types of therapy — behavioral, experiential, etc. — to help resolve the depression.
Brookhaven Retreat is a women only inpatient depression treatment program. Brookhaven Retreat offers a comprehensive approach to treating depression in a beautiful setting with privacy and comfortable surroundings. Contact Brookhaven today to learn more about how we can care for your loved one, help her overcome her depression, and return home with a new outlook.