When your partner is suffering from depression it can impact you and your relationship. Living with someone who suffers from depression can be challenging and the process takes time and patience. You may be unfamiliar with the symptoms of depression but notice that your partner is acting differently. It’s not uncommon to feel hopeless in supporting your partner since you are unfamiliar with the signs and symptoms of depression. But, there are things you can do to help. Here are 5 tips to help your partner who is struggling with depression.
Depression doesn’t usually improve without treatment. Encourage your partner to go to treatment on a regular basis. Your partner may feel they don’t want to go on medication or therapy. Both treatment options are extremely effective when coping with depression. Express your willingness to help and even offer to take them to appointments.
Identify the warning signs
Depression looks different for different people, so you want to familiarize yourself with your partner’s symptoms. He or she may be experiencing persistent, loss of appetite, trouble sleeping and concentrating, loss of interest in activities, friends, and even suicidal thoughts. You want to be able to recognize the onset of the symptom’s and encourage professional help as soon as possible. You may be the first to notice behavior changes in your partner and these insights are valuable during treatment.
Don’t be judgmental
Talk about depression openly as it shows you care and
want to help. Your partner may not be ready to talk so it’s important to emphasize that you don’t want them to feel pressured to share with you. Just letting them know you are willing to listen in a non-judgmental way can be extremely beneficial. Remind them of their strengths and empathically listen by asking open ended questions. Give your partner positive reinforcement and remind them that they aren’t alone as many people suffer from depression.
Try not to fix the issue
Avoid trying to “fix” the issue and encourage your partner to seek help. Try not to get frustrated because you cannot help. You help most by just being there and making efforts to understand. You can offer support, empathic listening and even ask your partner if they want you to participate in their treatment. But, don’t feel that you have to have all the answers. Offering a hug and letting them know “we will get through this together” can be comforting to your partner.
It’s important to understand depression, its effects and treatment in order to help your partner make informed decisions. Researching websites and reading books about depression can be helpful to you and your partner. You want to learn about various resources and tools to help support your loved one. Make sure your partner is taking care of his or her physical needs and reminding them to take their medications is helpful during the treatment process.
You can’t cure your partner’s depression, but you can help them along the road to recovery. Caring for your partner with depression can be emotional taxing. It’s important to practice self-care and seek out your own supports during this time. The good news is that a combination of medication and talk therapy can help your partner feel better and return to their normal level of functioning.
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