Depression affects a lot of people of all ages and backgrounds in our day and time. It is very common that you will find yourself dating someone with depression and the truth is that their struggles can play an important role in the progress of your relationship.
If you haven't struggled with depression yourself, you might have a hard time understanding depression symptoms or relating to what your partner is experiencing. In order to help you overcome any challenges and strengthen your relationship even more, here are some important things you should know about dating someone with depression.
The very first thing you should do when it comes to understanding your partner's depression better is to learn more about depression. The best way to do that is to ask someone who is a specialist, like a therapist, in the field to help you understand certain behaviors and patterns better.
Talking to a licensed therapist will not only help you see what your partner struggles within a different light but also allow you to pinpoint what you both need to work on in your relationship. This might be related to your partner's depression symptoms and neither of you might have caught on to it.
If that is not something you are able to do right now, you can always use the internet to gather information. As always, you need to be cautious with the sources of information you trust. Use validated medical sources such as Healthline, where you will know that everything you read is backed by science.
After you have read enough to better support and understand your partner, it is now time to talk to them and see their point of view. Depression makes people have a hard time sharing their thoughts and emotions but showing them you are there for them and haven't lost interest will allow them to open up more.
As a result, you will get a much clearer view of how they perceive and deal with their mental illness and build your emotional awareness of this issue. This is a great way to understand their own needs and the way depression affects them as well as the coping skills and coping strategies they have been using to overcome their own mental health issues.
“People who have never dealt with depression think it’s just being sad or being in a bad mood. That’s not what depression is for me; it’s falling into a state of grayness and numbness.” — Dan Reynolds
First and foremost, you need to always remember that the fact that your partner is experiencing depression has nothing to do with you. This is a situation that has been present probably way before you came into their life and has to do with other situations they experienced.
Getting a deeper understanding of what actually can cause depression is important. A person's mental health can be affected significantly by stressful situations and various environmental factors they have experienced such as financial issues, health issues, painful breakups, hormonal imbalances, loneliness, substance abuse, a family history of depression, and many other triggers.
These all play a role in how a person will experience depression and have nothing to do with their current relationships or partners. Depression is a complex illness and understanding that your partner is not this way because of something you did. This will allow you to be able to better support them without feeling guilty that you are harming them in any way.
Communication is one of the most important things in relationships. Being able to openly discuss what is bothering you and what you would like to work on is important when it comes to dealing with mental health issues and working on things that make you feel frustrated inside your relationship.
Being able to communicate your physical and emotional needs is important in every healthy relationship. Depressed people might have a hard time opening up and might even feel overwhelmed with having to discuss things that require them to think clearly or make certain decisions.
This is an even bigger reason why you should put a lot of effort into how you communicate between you. Make it a point to always talk to each other even about the most insignificant things. Not only should there be no secrets between you, but both sides need to understand that even the most insignificant thing can be good to communicate if it bothers one of you.
This way, you will be able to know when they are struggling more on a certain day and they will understand how talking about negative feelings or even things they consider insignificant can help you both strengthen your relationship and come closer.
In order to achieve good communication in your relationship and completely eradicate miscommunication, you first need to listen actively to what the other person has to say. Pay attention to how they phrase things and take into consideration the fact that some days, it might be the depression talking instead of them.
Once both of you are able to listen and truly understand what you both need and how you think, you are one of the couples that will probably never need couples counseling. Good communication and honesty will help you overcome every issue together and form a personal and reliable support group of two.
Sometimes your partner's depressive symptoms might tend to overcome their everyday life and you see that they are truly struggling. They might not pay a lot of attention to their self-care routine and even their own basic needs such as eating properly or sleeping well.
These are all very important parts of a person's everyday life that depression affects. A supportive partner can play a very important role in helping a depressed person bounce back and feel better. While you can't expect them to just immediately jump back to a steady routine, encouraging them to try is always crucial.
The point is not for you to become a parent to your partner and force them to do certain things. Your role as a partner is to see what they are struggling with and support them and motivate them to make changes.
For example, if they struggle with eating balanced meals, help them enjoy the process of making food together. Cook your favorite meal together, watch a nice show and enjoy the food you put together. Make sure you have enough leftovers for tomorrow too.
If they struggle with brushing their teeth or taking care of their hygiene, make it a point to have a nighttime routine together, where you both take care of your bodies and prepare for bed. Instead of letting them feel terrible for not trying hard enough in their eyes, motivate them to do things with you.
One more thing you should keep in mind when it comes to dating someone with depression is that you need to be patient with them. They will go through certain days or even periods of time when they will truly feel sad or feel discouraged to do anything, and there might not be much you can do to help them get out of this.
Mood changes, social withdrawal, and cognitive distortions are normal for people with depression and instead of making them feel like they should do more about their inability to socialize or be more active, you should show patience. Depression manifests in different ways for different people and your patience will help them feel loved and secure.
Instead of trying to get them to do things using unkind or derogatory language, have a movie night in or spend time together gaming or doing something you both enjoy. Most of the time, just being around the person you are in a romantic relationship with is bound to make you feel better.
You might also need to keep in mind that this might extend to your sex life as well. It is not rare for depression to make it difficult for people to be intimate with their partners. When dating someone with depression, you might need to be prepared for the fact that they will possibly need some time to feel secure, and that when their depression gets the better of them, they might not be able to have a very active sex life.
Showing them patience and doing things both of you are comfortable doing will allow you both to have a great time together, and let the emotional connection between you become even stronger. You should be one anothers' support system and help one another with their own mental health in any way you can.
There are far too many silent sufferers. Not because they don't yearn to reach out , but because they tried and found no one who cares.— that quiet gal?? (@millyncent01) May 10, 2022
Always be nice #depressionisreal.
One of the things that many people that struggle with depression share is the inability to spend time doing some physical activity. Depression can make it very difficult to leave the house. The stigma attached to this issue is real and can make a depressed person have an even harder time leaving the comfort zone of their house.
Making lifestyle changes that can benefit both of you can be important for every relationship. One of these is spending more time outside together. While you don't have to necessarily go to public places or be around a lot of people, you can spend some time in nature together and get some fresh air.
Go on a few hikes, take your dog for a walk in a local park, or have a picnic near a lake. Even if you go out for a few minutes at a time, walking around and seeing the sun is so important and can help your partner manage depression symptoms and help them feel better.
The most important thing is that it can get them excited about going out again and even motivate them to do some self-care. They might need a new outfit for your hikes or you might ask them to prepare certain things for a picnic. These will motivate them to get out of the house and enjoy spending time in nature with you.
One of the things that dating someone with depression will teach you is that this person might have faced criticism a lot in the past. Most people with depression choose to isolate themselves as they feel sad that people won't be able to understand their mental health and how they see things.
Someone with depression might appear happy and bubbly around others just so they don't raise suspicion about how much they actually struggle on the inside. This can be such a lonely life, especially when they have no actual support groups to talk to and share their experiences with.
This can even move over to their romantic relationships, and they might find themselves masking these feelings just to see their partner happy. In reality, they might still struggle and feel like showing their mood disturbances or how this situation actually affects their mental health can push their partner away.
Once you get a more accurate understanding of how someone with depression struggles with such issues, you should let them know how much it means for you for them to be able to be themselves with you. A relationship where partners have to hide their emotions or appear a certain way is not a genuine one.
Both of you should feel secure enough to be yourselves and be genuine with one another. This will be such an aid to the mental health of both parties and allow you to bond even more and show you that you have the emotional capacity to support one another in anything.
Managing depression can heavily rely on being able to be yourself and not having to hide when you are struggling from the person you love. Taking time to reset and take care of yourself in your own time is part of setting healthy boundaries in a relationship and you should not feel guilty for leaving your partner alone.
Just because you are dating someone with depression, it doesn't mean you should become the only person they lean on in their support network. Involve other people in your lives such as close friends and family, who can be there for them when you are not able to support them.
Sometimes you will need to do things for yourself that don't involve them like going shopping, meeting up with friends, or going to the gym. These are things everyone does in every relationship and they are necessary for the emotional well-being of both partners, no matter how introverted both of you might be.
Don't feel guilty when you have to leave your partner alone. Someone with depression might go through more difficult periods of emotional distress and might require a lot of social support in order to bounce back, but you should not be the only person they rely on.
Of course, you will give them your support and unconditional love, but you also need to take care of yourself and your needs in order for the relationship to be healthy.
“Depression is being colorblind and constantly told how colorful the world is.” — Atticus, Love Her Wild
Last but not least, another thing you should keep in mind about dating someone with depression is that you might need to motivate them to seek consistent professional help. Sometimes people with depression tend to hide their emotions as they don't want to burden those around them and this can lead to them not seeking out the help of a professional when they truly need it.
Encourage your partner to seek therapy for their depression and motivate them to stay in therapy. Symptoms won't improve overnight and sometimes depression feels like it never gets better. Sticking to a therapy program and talking about their depression with someone who can help them is crucial.
Tell them it's alright to try medication for their depression and that they shouldn't be worried about what others believe or say. The most important thing is to put in the effort and keep showing up to their therapy appointments. This is the best way to manage their depression and for your relationship to last long and be a happy one.
Just because your partner is battling depression or has recently been diagnosed with depression, it doesn't mean you cannot live a happy life together. Your love and support will definitely not go unnoticed and you both should understand that depression could never come between you.
While there is no magic cure to depression, there are many ways to try and understand what your partner needs and what you need from them in order for the relationship to be healthy and functional.
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