What should I do if my Partner has Depression?
Depression in many cases reduces the quality of everyday life for those who experience it. The consequences for those who experience it for a long time and simply remain passive, can be far-reaching and potentially dangerous.
All well and good … but what do we do when this person we mentioned above is our partner?
Problems affect every aspect of the relationship and the family and can have devastating consequences for the smooth running of the relationship.
How do you know if your partner may be depressed?
One of the biggest problems with depression is that it can be difficult to recognize even by the person suffering from it. The person who experiences it begins to realize that something is wrong when he begins to “fight” for everyday life and for the things that until yesterday he did easily. Imagine for a second you were transposed into the karmic driven world of Earl.
Some first signs are that we notice this person looking a little bored and maybe lazy in doing things / habits. He also usually sighs when we ask “what do you have?” “he answers nothing”. He does not want to do things that he used to and you will mainly be concerned with the fact that there is no expression of interest as a sexual partner towards you.
These behaviors can be accidental and you should not worry immediately. It can be just a period of intense reflection up to issues within the marriage.
How do you know if it is really depression?
Depression is different from going through sadness or temporary frustration with life issues. There are many common signs that depression is present, especially when these symptoms tend to be persistent. These include:
Withdrawal. If your partner is experiencing a growing withdrawal from social activities and possibly from you, this may be a sign of depression. Depression isolates the one who experiences it. When one is depressed one feels exhausted to the point that one is unable to communicate with others even in a basic way.
Log out. As with withdrawing from social life, you may find that your partner is beginning to move away from hobbies or habits he once enjoyed. He may now feel as if he has too much work to fill all hours of the day. Or for example when he was once motivated and tried to complete some responsibilities such as housework, a job for work that will help in his professional development, now he no longer does it by choosing instead to watch TV or sleep.
Exhaustion / Fatigue. Depression is exhausting for the person suffering from it. If your partner sleeps more or is tired all the time, this may be a sign of depression.
Anger / Irritability. When a once-easy spouse gets angry or sad when a hat falls off, he or she may experience depression. Anger is a special sign in men.
Changes in the bedroom. Unsurprisingly, along with the other symptoms of depression, you may also see changes in lovemaking. This can be one of the strongest signs of a problem. If your sex life has deteriorated and you are experiencing any of the other symptoms listed, you may have to deal with a partner who is suffering from depression.
These are just some of the common symptoms of depression. The combination can vary, as can the severity of each. However, seeing these signs in your partner, it is worth considering depression as a possible cause.
What should you do if you suspect that your partner needs care?
Clinical depression is not likely to go away on its own. It is not a passing phase, nor is it your fault. The longer someone experiences depression and the lack of the right approach, the more difficult your relationship will be. People who do not seek treatment can lead to unstable behavior, substance abuse or even suicide. If you think your partner may be depressed, you need to take action and seek professional diagnosis.
But how can we support the person next to us?
Here are 5 key ways we can help:
- Take care of yourself. As paradoxical as it may sound, taking care of ourselves must be a priority. We can not help our man if we do not “step” well on our feet. And yet, our tendency and the dynamic of the relationship is often to “tune in” with our partner, to avoid friends and activities with the illusion that this is how we support each other. Other times, we tend to limit our personal development or even the pleasure of everyday life with the logic that with our partner “we are one”.
This is a trap that usually ends up forming an interdependent relationship that fixes not only one, but both partners. It is easier for our partner to strengthen himself in the direction of dealing with depression, when we insist on respecting ourselves and meeting his needs.
- Create an “open arms” environment. When our partner experiences depression, he often acts with distrust and doubt about his environment and the degree to which he can “endure” and support him. That is why often our partner can cause us to leave him, to quarrel with him, to move away.
But what we can do is act like a steady, warm embrace that is always there. This does not mean coordination with the other’s mood, but endurance and acceptance of the other’s reality.
- Remember: man is not his disease. The face of depression often makes us forget the character, personality, value of the person next to us. It is easy to fall into the trap of considering the other “lazy”, saying that “he does not communicate”, that “he is not negative”. This trap recycles and enhances the feeling of shame and self-loathing that often accompanies depression.
But what helps is that we systematically remind ourselves first and then our partner of everything that makes him special and important to us. It is important not to “talk” only about the characteristics of depression, but to communicate, wait and remind all those elements for which we appreciate, respect and want the person next to us.
- Detoxify the relationship environment. It is not your responsibility to “save” your partner, even if this is your first tendency. But it is up to you to keep the “toxicity” of the relationship low. Practically, this means that it is important to maintain a communication without high emotion, a healthy lifestyle with exercise and proper nutrition, a healthy social life. This requires constant effort but can increase our partner’s ability to help.
- Depression does not end the relationship. The fact of a serious mental illness does not eliminate the reality and needs of a companionship. As partners, we need to be in touch with our needs, the need for companionship, communication, sexual contact. We need to express these needs, to claim the presence and closeness with our partner. The goal is not to become the parent of our partner but to remain in our extremely important partner role.