When your partner is struggling with depression, it can be hard to know how to support them. It may seem like they have everything going for them, yet they are still depressed. You may have tried many different ways in which to cheer them up, and nothing seems to have worked. You may have offered support by reminding them of how loved and cared for they are, yet that has not changed the way your partner feels.
Depression is a mental health disorder. It affects one in 15 adults in a year, according to the American Psychiatric Association. One in six people will experience depression at some point in their life, the APA states. Depression is not a feeling of sadness or grief. Sadness and grief come and go in waves and eventually subside. Clinical depression lasts longer than two weeks, and the person does not seem to enjoy the activities they once did.
It is wise to understand what depression is, its symptoms, and what causes it in order to support your partner. The more you know, the better you may be able to help them.
There are two common forms of depression. These are:
The symptoms of depression affect people differently, as indicated by the National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH). Not everyone will have all of the symptoms. Some people may have a few symptoms, while others may have many symptoms.
While there is no one cause for depression, there are several thoughts from the medical and psychological professions. Mayo Clinic writes that there could be different factors that contribute to someone having depression.
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It may seem like there is nothing you can do to help your partner when they are depressed. Nevertheless, there are ways in which you can support them. Some of these come from PsychCentral and PsyCom, and others are learned.
As much as there are ways to support your partner with depression, there are areas to avoid. Knowing these may help you better take care of your loved one.
Don’t take their depression personally, Healthline writes. Their depression is not your fault. If they lash out in anger or frustration, know that you are not the cause. Seek advice from an objective friend or family member, or therapist to help you cope.
Don’t try to “fix” them. Depression is a serious mental health condition that requires treatment.
Avoid offering advice about how to improve the symptoms of depression. Most people who are depressed will not listen anyway unless they ask for it.
Avoid stressing how medication could help their depression. Some people cannot tolerate the side effects of medication, and for some others, medication might not work at all.
If your partner mentions thoughts of suicide, attempts suicide, or displays a clear outcry for help, call a suicide hotline immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Hotline number is 800-273-8255. They can also be reached via an online chat from the above link.
It is heart-wrenching to watch someone you love who is depressed. It can be a lonely, frustrating time for you. The person you once knew as a happy, energetic love no longer seems that way. Nothing seems to be helping your love with their depression.
If you don’t know what else to do, Serenity at Summit offers licensed therapists who are educated and experienced in working with people with depression. If your partner is self-medicating, Serenity provides drug and alcohol addiction therapy through their dual diagnosis treatment program that treats mental health disorders alongside substance use. Reach out and get help today.
American Psychiatric Association. (2020 October) What Is Depression? Torres, F. M.D., MBA, DFAPA Retrieved from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression
National Institute on Mental Health. Depression Basics. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/index.shtml
Mayo Clinic. (2018, February 3) Depression (major depressive disorder) Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007
PsychCentral. (2018, July 8) 9 Best Ways to Support Someone with Depression. Tartakovsky, M. S. Retrieved from https://psychcentral.com/blog/9-best-ways-to-support-someone-with-depression/
Psycom. Being a Caregiver for Someone Who is Depressed. Hurley, K. LCSW. Retrieved from https://www.psycom.net/helping-someone-depressed
Healthline. (2019, May 29) How To Help A Depressed Friend. Raypole, C. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-help-a-depressed-friend#things-to-avoid
National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Retrieved from https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/