Dealing with a partner’s depression isn’t easy. It may feel as if you’ve lost the person you fell in love with due to their distant behavior, but it’s important to remember that this is just an illness and it can be managed. Here are some tips for helping your partner to pull through.
Listen without passing judgment
Most people that are depressed aren’t looking for people to offer advice – they simply want someone that they can vent their feelings too. Let your partner know that you’re there for them if they need to talk. Try to look at it as an outpouring of negative energy – you want them to be able to pour it all out. Passing judgment too early could cause them to close off again. Instead, try to encourage them to keep opening up by asking sympathetic questions that prompt them to keep going.
Stay on their side
Making your partner feel as if you’re on their side can help them to feel less lonely. Even if they say things that upset you, try to stay on their side so that they feel they have support. Some people that are depressed may even try to test your love by saying the meanest things they can – this is likely to be a form of self-punishment and they likely won’t believe what they’re saying.
Once your partner has opened up to you, you can start suggesting treatment. Don’t force this upon them – instead try to motivate them to take action themselves. Ask them if there is anything you can do to help and show that you’re there to support them without making plans for them. They will trust you more if you do this and may even ask for your help of their own accord.
Know when to get professional intervention
If you’re unable to get your partner to open up and they keep sinking into deeper depression or if you start seeing signs of a relapse, it could be time to then look into professional intervention. By hiring a licensed interventionist, you may be able to help talk them out of their depression before they resort to harming themselves. Self-harming and suicide attempts are clear signs that they are a danger to themselves.
Get support yourself
Depression can be contagious. The stress of having to deal with a depressed partner could start to make you feel alone and helpless – if you feel yourself sinking into a black hole, make sure to talk to a counsellor or simply vent your feelings to friends and family. By being able to talk to other people, you will stay sane and will be more easily able to find the strength to act positively around your partner.