Getting Through The Blues: Helping A Partner With Depression

It’s human nature to feel everything; our emotions are what makes us feel human. According to Asha Bauer, PsyD, “Similar to other physical sensations in the body, emotions are messengers. They tell us to address something in our lives. In a way, it’s a really good thing we have them – all of them.” We laugh when we feel happy, cry when hurt, shout when angry or irritated. Our emotions can make us sane or drive us stray. There comes a time that we become overwhelmed with life, that we feel everything all at once – that life becomes a burden to live until we lose our purpose in life. However, if we do have a reliable coping mechanism, we can quickly bounce back and start anew. But for some who got stacked at their lowest, depression will start to kick in.

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Depression is like a viral infection, it can be self-limiting, or at worst, it can lead to one’s demise. According to Danna Costa-Sahs, PsyD, “Depression is a serious mental illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act.” It is a crook that will take away all the positive outlooks in life, a home-wrecker that can destroy a relationship. And in the end, it will consume you leaving you in solitary confinement.

Maybe the bravest thing that a depressed person has ever done was to continue living despite the emptiness and unhappiness consuming him. And knowing that a loved one is in a constant battle with depression is disheartening and seeing how depression is taking the life out of him. It’s alright to feel sad about it, but remember, people who are overcoming depression needs help. Instead of feeling hopeless, helpless and frustrated about the condition of your partner, the right thing for you to do is to help and save him from his misery.

Helping a partner to surpass his depression is challenging as well because it will be a test of patience and endurance. The following are ways on how you can help a partner with depression.

Be strong, take care of yourself.

Above anything else, remember that you are the key player; you must make sure that you are stronger than the depression that your partner is going through. At this point, you are the source of strength and positivity. It is from you that your partner will see the knot tied at the end of the rope. With you being strong and determined to save your partner from his depression, even the most laborious task will be easy for you. However, bear in mind that your role is to provide a support system, you cannot fix the depression itself, it is still up to your partner, but if you show him that you are there for him, he will feel that he’s not all alone with his battle.

Keep the line of communication

Upon knowing that your partner is undergoing depression, you must make sure that you keep an open discussion with him. You must be keen on his behaviors. At times he can be quiet, and you have to initiate a conversation through compassionate listening for him to feel comfortable expressing his thoughts. Stephanie Dowd, PsyD, suggests “Try to build empathy and understanding by putting yourself in his shoes.”

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Never make him feel alone

People with depression feel that the world has given up on them. They feel not enough and worthless; hence they resort to isolating themselves because they do not want to feel they are a burden to the people around them. Your mere presence lets him know that not everyone has turned their back on him.

Keep calm and carry on.

Being with someone who has depression will test your patience; however, you must learn to control your emotions as well. There is the time that your partner will burst into anger you might even feel tired of everything, however, you must remember that it’s is not your partner’s fault, it is depression that is changing him, and you cannot just give up like that.

Be observant

You must watch out for the possibility of suicide. It may seem difficult as we cannot see what’s on his mind, but we must observe him appropriately and be keen on subtle signs.

Encourage treatment and support groups.

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Always remember that you cannot do it alone. Encouraging him to seek psychiatric treatment and finding a support group will facilitate improvement. It is not your task to fix his problem, seeking professional help will do.