7 Tips to Support a Partner Who Is Struggling With Depression

By on August 25, 2019
Depression

Supporting a partner with depression is difficult, but with the right knowledge and a little empathy, your support can go a long way in helping them through depressive episodes and the recovery process. It’s important to strive to better understand their illness, so you know what you should expect, and so you don’t take any negative actions or statements personally. Here are seven tips for supporting a partner who is struggling with depression. 

  1. Don’t Downplay Their Condition 

Something many people try to do when someone is upset is downplaying the severity of the issue with statements like “It will get better” or “There are worse things”. Downplaying the impact of depression can cause more harm than good, and may even cause your partner to withdraw from you altogether; feeling as though you don’t understand what they’re going through. 

Avoid blanket statements and instead focus on empathy. Empathy is a deeper form of understanding, where you relate to their struggle and identify with their desire to overcome it. Empathy understands while sympathy attempts to cover everything with a silver lining. The fact is, the black cloud of depression doesn’t allow the affected person to see a silver lining at all; making this practice ineffective at best. 

  1. Educate Yourself Further 

As you experience your partner’s symptoms, you’ll likely come across abnormal behavior or behavior that you just don’t understand. This can become frustrating for both parties, as you won’t understand what’s happening and your reactions may actually make things worse. 

Take the time to read up on depression; symptoms, signs, behaviors, etc. The more you know about your partner’s condition, the better support you can lend to them in times of need. Don’t forget to read up on treatments as well, including alternative treatments like all-natural CBD. Empathy is the doorway to understanding, and understanding is the doorway to empathy. The two work hand-in-hand to create a much more supportive emotional state. 

  1. Watch for Suicidal Ideations or Symptoms

Depression can have dangerous outcomes, up to and including suicide. While not all victims of depression will take their lives, suicide is becoming one of the fastest-growing causes of death among young people in the United States; and is no laughing matter. Dating a person with depression can mean you might, at some point, hear suicidal thoughts or plans from your loved one; in which case you must act immediately. 

With early prevention, we can help reduce suicide numbers and keep those suffering from depression on the path towards recovery. 

  1. Listen With Purpose

Listening with purpose isn’t as easy as it sounds. Most of us simply listen to respond and don’t actually hear what the other person is saying. Listening with purpose allows you to focus in on what your partner is saying; soaking up the words and absorbing what they mean. This level of understanding is critical when attempting to establish yourself as a support role for your partner. They want to be heard. 

  1. Help Them Find Support

Another helpful way to support your partner is to help them find the professional help and support they need. Research programs, therapists, and group therapy in your area; compiling a list for your partner to choose from. Approach with empathy and gentleness when suggesting these solutions, as sometimes depression can cause your loved ones to lash out. Understand that it’s the condition talking and that you shouldn’t take it personally. 

There are likely to be several support groups available in your area, and you can even attend these support groups with your partner to truly show them your level of commitment to helping them recover. 

  1. Attend Therapy Sessions 

In addition to group therapy, you may also be able to attend certain one-on-one therapy sessions with your spouse, at the therapist’s discretion. Certain things may need to be discussed in private, while other issues can be discussed and worked through as a group. Your partner will undoubtedly appreciate this level of support and commitment to the cause, and it will help you further understand their illness and the behavior that comes with it. 

  1. Give Yourself a Break 

Perhaps the best way to support your partner is to ensure your own mental health is up to the challenge. This can mean stepping away once in a while and giving yourself a break from the support role. You’ll likely start to feel guilty when you step away, but don’t let yourself be consumed by such thoughts. Sometimes, you simply need to step away and recover your strength before diving back into an issue like depression; and that’s ok. 

If your own mental health begins to deteriorate, you can’t possibly support anyone else’s. If you need a break, ask a trusted friend or loved one to stay with your partner for a few hours. Go somewhere quiet and peaceful, where you can collect your thoughts and realign your mind with the task at hand. 

Conclusion 

Depression is a serious mental health condition, and should not be taken lightly. If your partner starts talking about death or suicide or making plans to carry out suicide, get help immediately, and do not leave them alone. Be sure to step away from the support role every now and then to keep your own mental health intact, as these kinds of issues can be incredibly taxing on anyone’s mind. Most of all, try to truly understand the issue and why it makes your partner do the things they do or say; the better you understand it, the better support you can offer.

 

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7 Tips to Support a Partner Who Is Struggling With Depression