When one partner in a relationship is depressed, the focus of attention tends to be on that partner’s feelings. While there is an obvious need for support for the depressed partner, it is important not to overlook the needs of the other partner as well. Individuals and relationships can survive depression if they receive the proper support. Identify some of the most significant symptoms that may be straining your relationship, as well as strategies to mitigate their effects.
Method 1 Recognizing the Symptoms
1. Examine your body for signs of depression. Many people confuse depression with “feeling down,” but depression is a much more serious condition than simply being sad or upset all of the time. The symptoms of depression can manifest themselves in a variety of ways, depending on the individual who is suffering from them, and not everyone will exhibit every symptom. In general, however, you should be on the lookout for any of the following:
Feelings of sadness, anxiety, or emptiness that are frequent and consistent (aka “depressed mood”)
Hopelessness or pessimism are common emotions.
Guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness are all emotions that can be experienced.
Person’s loss of interest in activities and things that they previously enjoyed
The sensation of being “slower” is caused by fatigue or exhaustion (aka “psychomotor retardation”)
Sleeping patterns are changing (either sleeping too much or sleeping too little, or insomnia)
Changes in eating habits, appetite, or weight are all possible outcomes.
Restlessness or irritability; a “keyed-up” state of mind (aka “psychomotor agitation”)
Physical symptoms that are not explained by a medical diagnosis (for example, body aches that are not caused by a medical condition)
Suicidal or death-related thoughts
2. Take into consideration how long you have been experiencing symptoms. Clinical depression can manifest itself in a variety of ways, each with its own severity and duration. For a person to be considered to be suffering from a “major depressive episode,” they must have experienced at least 5 symptoms over a two-week period, with one of those symptoms being either “depressed mood” or “loss of interest or enjoyment.”
Minor depression: Symptoms may be less severe and last for a shorter period of time.
Dysthymia, also known as dysthymic disorder, is characterised by symptoms that are less severe but last for a longer period of time (at least two years)
Major depression is characterised by severe symptoms that interfere with your ability to function and enjoy life on a daily basis.
Postpartum depression is a condition that can occur shortly after a woman has given birth to a child. It’s normal to experience the “baby blues” for a few weeks after giving birth, but if symptoms persist for more than a few weeks, postpartum depression is likely to be the cause.
3. Keep an eye out for any changes in sleeping patterns. The desire to sleep excessively, as well as insomnia, which is the difficulty falling or remaining asleep, can both be signs of a depressive episode. It is possible that these symptoms will have a negative impact on romantic relationships. It is possible that your partner’s desire to sleep excessively is interpreted as an avoidance or rejection of you in the case of hypersomnia. Couples who live together may experience insomnia as a form of avoidance or rejection, as sleeping together is likely one of the most intimate ways of expressing intimacy.
If your partner is experiencing either of these issues, don’t take it personally and try to work through it. Inquire about what you can do to assist and, in the meantime, maintain your own sleep habits.
If you are suffering from either of these conditions, keep in mind that it is possible that it is having an impact on your partner. Confidentially inform him or her that your need for or inability to sleep has nothing to do with your feelings for him or her.
If your partner’s sleep patterns have changed but he or she is unable to explain why, and you have observed other symptoms, you should consider gently suggesting that your partner may be suffering from depression. Inform him or her that “I’m aware that you’ve been under a lot of pressure lately, and that it can be exhausting. Do you believe that your sleep problems could be a symptom of depression?”
4. Inquire about your feelings of helplessness. If you or your partner appears to be responding negatively to most things and appears to be lacking motivation, you should inquire about underlying feelings. You can lose your motivation if you believe that your circumstances will never improve. Everything seems pointless when you believe that your circumstances will never improve. This may result in a general lack of interest in most activities.
This could be interpreted as a lack of interest in your partner. Even if it appears that participating in activities with your partner is pointless, it is worth considering. At the very least, you might appreciate the distraction from your own feelings.
If you notice that your partner has lost interest in activities that you both normally enjoy, and especially if you notice a pattern, you should inquire as to why he or she no longer wishes to participate. Say something if he or she responds with a generic response or avoids the conversation “I’m very concerned about your well-being. You don’t appear to be interested in doing the things you used to enjoy doing. Please communicate with me so that I can better understand what is going on. I’d like to be of assistance to you.”
5. Take note of how the individual is performing at work or in school. Examining a person’s performance at work or school is one way to determine whether or not he or she is suffering from depression. If you notice signs that a person’s grades or work performance are deteriorating, an increase in the amount of stress he or she is experiencing at school or at work, or it appears that the person is putting forth less effort than usual, speak with him or her.
It may seem impossible to function at school or at work if you are suffering from a severe depression. If the person appears to be unconcerned about poor performance, regularly misses school or work, or becomes combative when you inquire about school or work, suggest that they seek professional assistance.
6. Take a look at your sex life. Depression frequently impairs a person’s sexual drive, as well as his or her enjoyment of a variety of other activities that he or she used to enjoy. You may be suffering from depression if you notice that your sexual life with your partner has changed dramatically from how it usually is.
A low libido may be caused by some antidepressant medications. It’s important to encourage your partner to speak with his or her doctor about his or her sex drive.
7. Isolation, which contributes to loneliness, should be avoided. Depressed people frequently experience increased feelings of loneliness and isolation as a result of a lack of energy and motivation. Because they have less energy and fewer pleasurable experiences, people who are depressed are more likely to avoid social activities. Friends and family members begin to reach out less frequently, anticipating that they will be rejected. This becomes a vicious cycle that only gets worse.
You should encourage your partner to maintain relationships with family and friends if he or she is depressed in order to avoid becoming isolated.
If your partner appears to be avoiding other people, try to engage him or her in a conversation about the reasons he or she is avoiding socialising. Instruct him or her to tell you, “I’ve noticed you haven’t been out with your friends in a while.” S/he will most likely respond by saying that s/he hasn’t felt like going out lately. Then inform her or him of your decision “I’m concerned about you, and it’s important for you to maintain social relationships. If you’d like to have your friends over, I’ll clean up the house and find something to do while they’re visiting.”
Please refrain from becoming enraged or confrontational. Avoid using language that appears to be accusatory, such as “What’s wrong with you?” or “What’s your problem?”.
Method 2 Talking to Others about Depression
1. Make a decision about who you will talk to about your depression. It’s understandable if you’re uncomfortable discussing your partner’s or your own mental health. Everyone does not require to be informed. Take into consideration how a person will react to the information before disclosing it to them. It’s possible that you don’t want to tell an employer who hasn’t been encouraging in the past. Only share when you are confident that you will be supported.
Begin with the people who you believe will be the most supportive of your efforts. This will increase your self-confidence and serve as a buffer in the event that you have to disclose to those who are less supportive later on. You should consult with your partner and make decisions about who should be informed before disclosing your information to anyone other than a doctor or a clinician.
If your partner is suffering from depression, it is critical that you do not disclose this information without his or her permission. It is possible that disclosing information without consent will lead to feelings of helplessness and worthlessness.
2. Prepare yourself to respond to questions. Many people are unfamiliar with depression, and you may find yourself having to educate them. If you are having difficulty explaining what you are experiencing, you can look for resources online or ask your doctor for brochures to help you. In order to better understand what you or your partner is going through, your family and friends will most likely want a detailed description of your symptoms. Furthermore, they may have concerns about what might have caused the depression and how it can be treated. You might want to consider writing down your responses to these frequently asked questions so that you feel prepared when you disclose to others.
Friends and family members will almost certainly inquire as to what they can do to assist, so take advantage of this opportunity to solicit emotional support.
3. Consult with your doctor or a therapist for assistance. If you are having difficulty talking about depression with your friends and family, seek professional help to help you. Doctors and clinicians have to talk to patients about their diagnoses on a regular basis, so they gain a great deal of insight. Because your doctor is familiar with your particular situation, he or she may be able to make some excellent recommendations. Even inviting a friend or family member to your appointment may be beneficial so that s/he can ask questions in an environment that is comfortable for you.
If your partner is suffering from depression and isn’t talking about it, you might consider asking your doctor or a therapist to speak with him or her on the subject of depression. Knowing that you have faith in the other person may encourage him or her to open up.
Method 3 Developing Healthy Habits
1. Take a trip to the great outdoors. Being in nature can help to improve your mood while also disrupting your daily routine, which can help to alleviate depression. Additionally, compounds released by plants may have the ability to chemically alter your mood in addition to the mood-boosting effects of simply taking in the beauty of the natural world.
In the event that your partner is depressed, organise outings such as picnics to get him or her out of the house and into nature.
Hiking is a fantastic way to combine the benefits of being in nature with the benefits of physical activity.
2. Consume nutritious foods. Because couples frequently eat together, it is possible that changes in appetite are associated with these changes and are affecting both partners’ eating habits. Create a nutrient-dense diet that you and your partner can both benefit from. Some nutrients, such as B vitamins, may be beneficial in improving mood, so consume plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Cooking healthy meals together is a good idea. This could be a fun and creative activity that you and your partner will enjoy.
3. Exercise can help to improve your mood. It has been demonstrated that physical activity increases endorphins, which improves mood, as well as improving coping over time. Concentrate on physical activities that you and your friends can do together to encourage and motivate one another.
Consider activities that include other techniques for improving mood in order to reap even greater benefits from the experience. Exercising, socialising, and spending time having fun outside are all benefits of participating in sports with high school friends, for example, soccer.
If you or your partner find that highly structured activities are too much for you, consider taking a walk together as an alternative. This is a simple way to begin increasing your physical activity and getting you out of the house on a regular basis.
4. Have a good time with your friends. This serves as a distraction and has the added benefit of improving mood quickly. When a person is depressed, he or she is often reluctant to engage in pleasurable activities.
For those who have a depressed partner, take the initiative and plan a couple of enjoyable activities each week.
You should agree to participate in the activities even if you are not particularly enthusiastic about them if you are depressed. Recognize that your partner put forth a significant amount of effort into planning the activity because he or she is concerned about you.
Method 4 Socializing with Others
1. Maintain your external contacts and relationships. It is critical that you and your partner maintain friendships outside of your relationship, whether you are suffering from depression or not. Without regular breaks, the depressed partner may begin to feel like a burden, and the other partner may begin to feel trapped. Taking a break from one another will help both partners feel refreshed from time to time.
If you schedule weekly social activities, you may feel obligated to participate in them. Make a weekly dinner date with your best friend and see how it goes. This will get you out of the house, help you build a supportive relationship, and provide you with a necessary break from your partner.
2. Participate in group activities when possible. This is an excellent opportunity for you and your partner to interact with others in a social setting. Gather with family and friends on a regular basis to keep relationships strong and to divert attention away from the depression itself.
Consider joining a club or donating your time to a local organisation as a couple. This will provide excellent opportunities for you and your partner to spend quality time together while not focusing on the depression, as well as for you to meet new people and expand your support network.
3. Spend your time in public places. Seeing other people in good spirits may actually improve your own mood. At the very least, other customers will serve as a source of distraction and provide you with something to discuss.
Coffee shops are often excellent places to people watch, and outdoor venues may also have the added benefit of nature’s mood-boosting properties to offer.
Method 5 Getting Help
1. Follow the recommendations of your doctor. An antidepressant medication may be prescribed in some cases of depression. You and your partner should consult with a medical doctor and/or a mental health professional to discuss all treatment options available to you. If you decide that medication is right for you, make sure to follow all of the instructions and consult with your doctor before discontinuing use of the medication. Stopping some medications abruptly can be dangerous, and it may increase the risk of committing suicide.
If your partner has been prescribed medication, encourage him or her to take it on a regular basis and avoid stigmatising the use of prescribed medication as much as possible. If your partner is made to feel guilty about the need for medication, he or she will be less likely to adhere to the prescribed regimen.
2. Consult with a therapist. It would be beneficial to seek both couple’s counselling and individual therapy. Couples counselling will assist you in addressing issues that have arisen in your relationship. When a depressed partner receives individual therapy, he or she can concentrate on healing rather than worrying about the other. Individual therapy can also assist the non-depressed partner in developing healthy coping strategies for dealing with the depressed partner’s depression.
If you have health insurance, talk to your provider about finding treatment options that are within your budget. You can also look for clinicians on the internet.
Clinics that offer low-cost or sliding-scale fee services to people with limited financial resources can be found in many communities. Inquire with your doctor, nurse, or even a religious figure to see if they are aware of any similar services in your area.
3. Participate in a support group. This will serve as a social support system as well as a safe space to discuss your relationship with depression and your personal experience with it. Another member’s perspective and encouragement will be invaluable.
If you are unable to attend a group meeting in person, consider joining one online.
Creative Commons License