Depression is an anxiety disorder that affects nearly 264 million people of all ages, all over the world. Depression can often lead to much greater consequences, including suicide. This global pandemic is, unfortunately, something that usually gets swept under the rug and ignored. If you’re with someone who is suffering from depression, it’s time to take notice and work with them towards a better future.
Suffering from depression can make life difficult, to say the least. Appetite changes, mood swings, a lingering feeling of existential dread, and even sexual dysfunction can all put a strain on a relationship. It’s admittedly difficult to be with someone who’s suffering from depression, but you may be their greatest ally in their fight.
Let’s look closer at how you can help your partner with depression. The answers might just surprise you.
Make An Effort To Understand Depression
Depression might be a global problem, but that doesn’t mean that it’s well understood. Unfortunately, conditions like depression are full of stigma. Depression is viewed as simple sadness, depressed people are told to “just get over it”, and the condition continues to affect millions every year. The truth is that depressed people can’t just “get over it”, especially when the condition causes thoughts of suicide.
Depression is misunderstood. It’s not just sadness. Sadness is an emotional reaction to emotional triggers and something that passes eventually. When a loved one passes away, you might feel sad. You’ll likely experience sorrow for a few days or weeks after, and certain triggers might affect you in a certain way. This is a normal reaction.
Depression, on the other hand, is a feeling of dread that doesn’t go away. Think of the saddest you’ve ever felt, multiply it by ten, and imagine experiencing it on a daily basis. This is as close to imagining depression as you can get.
The best thing you can do for your partner is learn about their condition. Not only will this make you a more aware individual, but you’ll also understand their behaviors and emotions on a deeper level and avoid the frustration that comes with ignorance of the condition.
We want our loved ones to be happy, and when they’re continuously unhappy, it becomes frustrating. Our frustration does nothing for the depressed person except make them feel worse and like they’re a burden on loved ones.
Create A Supportive Home
Dating someone with depression can be a challenge for you, but imagine how your partner must feel. They’re struggling to love themselves, and the relationship demands that they love someone else as well. That’s a lot of weight on their shoulders. This is why it’s so important to build a supportive home environment for your partner and for yourself.
You’ll have days where you’re exhausted from helping your partner. It’s ok to take a break, but make sure your home is set up in such a way that everyone feels supported. Be there for your partner. Keep things and people they love around them. Focus together on a healthy lifestyle. Exercise is an excellent way to help battle the symptoms of depression, and what you eat can drastically affect your body and mind.
Pay Close Attention and Encourage Treatment
Depression isn’t something that just goes away. While some people learn to live with the condition, seeking professional treatment is the best way to manage and treat depression at the source. It’s your duty as a partner of a depressed person to pay close attention to their behavior and encourage them to seek help.
Why should you pay attention? Not only to learn more about the condition and your partner’s behavior, but also to watch for the warning signs of suicide. This is an unfortunate reality, but one you must take seriously; especially because suicide kills about 800,000 people worldwide every year and is one of the leading causes of death in young adults.
Some warning signs of suicide include:
Giving away personal items.
Joking about or talking about death and suicide.
Searching for methods of suicide (search engine history is a good place to start).
Talks of feeling worthless, hopeless, or yearning to “end the pain”.
Withdrawal and drug or alcohol abuse.
While these behaviors aren’t always a definite indicator of suicide, they should still be taken seriously. If your partner displays these behaviors, it’s time to take matters into your own hands and seek the help of a professional.
We’re Stronger Together
Sometimes, support from a loved one can move mountains for someone suffering from depression. Depression has a way of making the victim feel they’re unlovable, or that no one cares. Being supportive is a gentle reminder that we do care and that we’re stronger together and willing to take the journey as a couple.