Finding love with chronic depression isn’t always easy. It can play on the insecurities your depression already intensifies. Or it can keep you from reaching out entirely. All in all, managing depression in relationships can be a little bit complicated.
The same is true for being in a relationship with someone battling depression. There’s all the happiness and love for the relationship. Then there are these complex, sometimes dark feelings that can be hard to understand. Which is why it’s good to have some help when managing depression in relationships.
Being In A Relationship With Chronic Depression
1. Talk to a doctor.
This might seem a little obvious. And you might already be doing it. That’s great news! If you aren’t, there’s no time like the present. Not to minimize the process, because I understand how ridiculously hard it is to find a therapist then actually make an appointment and keep it. I just about cried when the therapist I was interviewing canceled on me. I didn’t want to go through the process of looking all over again. But relationships add another sequence of processing to our emotions. They can be triggering in all types of different ways. Having a professional to talk about your experiences and feelings will help manage depression in your relationship.
2. Pick A Supportive Partner
You are not too much. Not too sensitive. There is nothing about you that isn’t deserving of a supportive partner. I mean it’s what everyone needs. But when living with depression, it’s essential to have a supportive network. Not just with your partner either. So make sure you maintain outside networks as well. They will be your lifeline at times. Your partner should also be that lifeline to help manage depression in your relationship.
3. Be Open With Your Partner
Talk to them about what you’re feeling. It’s one of the best tools for managing depression in relationships. When you can’t bring yourself to clean, let your partner know. If you are overwhelmed by the sheer exhaustion of socialization, explain your isolation. Your partner cannot be supportive if you don’t tell them what is going on. So help your supportive partner out, and talk to them. That way they can take some of the stress off your plate.
4. Separate The Depression From The Relationship
Make the depression a separate entity from the relationship. Personify it as the third-party in the relationship. That way you can talk about it objectively with a sense of removal. Furthermore, it will help you minimize the conflation of your depression symptoms with any issues in the relationship. This can be one of the biggest struggles of managing depression in relationships.
Having a Partner With Chronic Depression
1. Remember Depression Is An Illness
Just like diabetes or a thyroid disorder, depression is an illness. That means that your partner cannot control it. There are several things your partner can do to help manage their depression. As their partner, you should support them in these efforts. But don’t ever dismiss their symptoms as laziness or a lack of caring. They care. They want to act. They’re battling illness.
2. Remember It Won’t Last Forever
Each bout is different. But they never last indefinitely. So it’s helpful to remind your partner of this. And don’t forget it yourself. When the struggle is too real for the both of you keep this in mind—it won’t last forever. You and your partner can manage depression in your relationship.
3. Do Your Research
The best thing you can do for managing depression in relationships and for your partner is to keep informed. Research their depression so you can understand what they are experiencing. This will help when you can’t figure out what you’ve done to make them feel a type of way. You’re not the problem. They aren’t either. It’s that third-party in your relationship, the depression.
4. Remember It’s Not About You
It’s all too easy to think that your partner’s symptoms have something to do with you. They don’t. Regardless of your relationship, your partner would be going through these things. Chances are you help a lot. So remember none of it is personal.
5. Self Care
Having a relationship with someone battling depression often means taking care of them. Being there for them. Creating space for them. Without sounding self-centered, it can be emotionally exhausting. So take some time to take care of yourself. Maybe even see a therapist every once in a while. I personally think that we should all do check-ups on our mental health. You know, as we do with our physical health! But even a bubble bath can help you manage depression in your relationship.
The most important thing to remember is you’ve found someone who means something to you. It’s special and worth your nurturing.
Please share what tips you have for managing depression in relationships!