Learning how to love someone with depression may seem impossible. But don’t give up! There are ways to make connections, be understanding, and acquire patience!
It’s never easy when learning how to love someone with depression. This disease, that dark fog of heaviness, generally doesn’t care about making positive conversation and showing up at social engagements. It’s just not the best of friends with most people.
When it comes to relationships, depression makes things more complicated. Don’t get me wrong, being stricken with depression doesn’t make someone self-absorbed or lazy, as some people think, it just makes them difficult to understand.
A way to bridge the gap
If you want to know how to love someone with depression, you have to take a look at yourself, and you must gain understanding about the disease itself. It’s not a one solution fits all situation.
It’s more a loose set of rules that help you get to know your mate as an individual. Learning how to love someone with depression can be done by utilizing a few tried and true tools.
Learn what NOT to say
First of all, popular uplifting and motivational statements may not work the same way for those who suffer from depression. Saying, “Get over it”, or “ You’ll be fine” may not work.
In fact, these statements usually make people feel worse because they pressure the depressed to do and be better. Depression is not easily controllable, so telling the depressed to do something about it, just don’t have the same effect as other tips.
Now, since you know what not to say, how about trying this: Give them a hug or you can even ask them if there’s anything they need. Say that you love and care about them and use other sympathetic statements.
Learn what not to say, and learn what you can do! This helps strengthen relationships with those who suffer from depression.
Create healthy boundaries
There need to be healthy boundaries in a relationship with someone who suffers from depression, just like with any other relationship. The reason for this is simple. Although you need to be there for the depressed person, you will also need to maintain care of yourself as well.
Also, letting sufferers of depression see you care for yourself, helps them understand the importance of caring for themselves as well. Taking a step back also gives you the opportunity to regroup and see things from a different perspective.
Abandon the “tough love”
Do you remember your parents speaking about “tough love” and how it works for them? The thing is the “tough love” angle doesn’t work for everybody. You have to be careful about being forceful or demanding of those who suffer from depression.
This beast called depression has created enough negativity without yelling or setting ultimatums.
Now, I’m not saying that walking away isn’t an option if their actions are too much, or causing you to exhibit symptoms of depression yourself. What I am saying is that being manipulative and threatening people with depression will not change them.
It’s much better to continue to be understanding if you wish to stay in the relationship.
Schedule time together
Being spontaneous is great fun, but when it comes to depression, sometimes you have to schedule a time to be together. This helps both of you learn to keep engagements, despite what might be happening with emotions or moods.
Plan a date or a picnic, just make plans and keep them. This also helps the sufferer build trust and feel important. And if the plans occur during a low point in depression, it will provide help and comfort in a time of need.
Observe and learn
If you don’t understand depression, then pay attention. Just by observing your partner’s behavior, you can pick up on little patterns and triggers which make them better or worse.
As you watch them, try to learn all you can by reading and talking to others who are familiar with the disease. These steps will help you grow in your relationship.
Always be supportive
You are your partner’s best friend, and also the best option for support. Now that you know this, try to be the most supportive that you can be. Things you should say: “I am here for you”, “ I support you”, and “You are not alone”.
Just these simple words speak volumes to the one who’s struggling just to cope with life. Actions you can take: Offer emotional support, advocate for your partner, and share your knowledge with others so they can help you in your endeavors, possibly creating a larger support group.
Never compare them to others
No matter how bad it gets or how depression looks on others, never compare your mate to someone else. Just because Ted’s wife is a powerhouse of energy and never sleeps late doesn’t mean your partner is anything less than amazing.
Some people suffer more and have different ways of coping with the disease. Everyone’s story is their own, and if you love them, you won’t compare them with others.
And remember, most of all, to be open-minded
Never forget that you are battling a REAL disease. Depression is serious and it’s not all in your head. If you’re learning how to love someone with depression, make sure you learn the facts about the disease before you try to help.
If you go into a relationship thinking depression is just a mood or a phase, you will fail horribly at helping your partner. Not only that, you can hurt them emotionally and cause a rift between the both of you.
I hope this helps you grow and flourish as you make a life together!
By Sherrie H.