If you’re dating someone with depression, you know that some days are harder than others. Depression symptoms can improve and worsen at random, and new symptoms may arise that you’re entirely unfamiliar with. This can cause frustration, anger, and even resentment if you’re not sure what you’re dealing with. Here are six tips for dating someone with depression, so you know what to expect and how to navigate this complex mental health condition.
If you’re dating someone with depression, it’s important to know what to expect and how to navigate this complex mental health condition.
1. Take the Time to Understand the Illness
Understanding what exactly you’re dealing with can be incredibly helpful when new symptoms arise, or when certain behaviors just don’t make sense. Understanding will also help you not to take things personally, like insults out of anger or behavior due to the illness. Many people that don’t understand depression think that the affected person is lashing out for no reason, but the truth of the matter is that increased agitation and lashing out at loved ones is just one of many symptoms of the illness.
Get yourself some books or research on the internet facts about depression. Arm yourself with knowledge so that the next time a depressive episode strikes, you’ll know what to expect and have a better idea of how to navigate it. This is an intimidating task for anyone to take on, but it can be even more so when you don’t know what to expect.
2. Depression is Not “Just Being Sad”
The first thing you’ll probably assume when your partner says they’re depressed is that they’re “just sad”. This is an all-too-common misconception about depression, and is quite harmful when said to someone suffering from the illness. Sadness is not a pervasive, crippling feeling of sorrow and hopelessness like depression. “Just being sad” doesn’t affect your appetite long-term, your social behaviors, or your will to live. There’s a big difference between the two.
Avoid stigmas such as these; they are not only harmful, but serve as a wall between you and your partner. Be sure to educate yourself on the illness to avoid stigma and to create a bridge rather than a wall between you and your partner.
3. Be Supportive
Sometimes, all your partner needs is someone to talk to. Listening to what they have to say can help them feel understood, wanted, and cared for. This can go a long way when major depressive episodes strike, so be sure to offer as much support as you can in whatever way you can.
Support can also come in the form of performing research on treatment methods like therapy or CBD oil in the form of CBD gummies. CBD oil has been known to alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety, and although it’s not necessarily a cure, it can be a cheap alternative to antidepressants.
4. Take a Break Now and Then
In order to support someone with a mental health condition, you must support yourself as well. Supporting someone with depression can be incredibly demanding as far as time, emotional resources, and even financial resources go. It’s ok to want a break from the support role now and then, and it can even be argued that it’s an essential part of being a supporter.
If you’re feeling stretched too thin, take a step back and let a trusted friend, relative, or other person take on the support role for a few hours or days. Gently explain to your partner that you just need to rest and recover a bit, but that you’re excited to come back into your support role once you’re recharged.
5. Reach out to Professionals and Support Groups
Reaching out to local support groups for support can help both you and your partner find a solid group of people to help you through the illness. Support groups are incredibly effective; bringing people together under a common cause to meet a common goal. Sometimes, just knowing they aren’t alone is enough to make someone suffering from depression feel a little better.
You can also reach out to a licensed therapist on your partner’s behalf, or attend therapy sessions with them. This can help you understand the effects of the illness better, and give you a chance to talk with a professional about any new behaviors you notice.
6. Don’t Downplay Their Illness
The worst thing you can do when attempting to support someone with depression is to try to sugar-coat or downplay the issue. Trying to put a silver lining on depression is like trying to paint with no brush. Depression is a crippling, dark feeling that can’t be helped by platitudes or sympathetic statements. True support lies in empathy, understanding, and patience.
When you’re offering support, say things like “I understand that what you’re feeling is making it seem like you’re alone; but I’m here for you”. Don’t downplay the illness or try to put a silver lining on it; empathy is a greater tool than sympathy.
With the right support from you and their friends and family, your depressed partner will be able to successfully navigate this mental health condition and enter the recovery phase much faster.
The Bottom Line
Depression is manageable and treatable, and with the right support from you and their friends and family, your partner will be able to successfully navigate this mental health condition and enter the recovery phase much faster. Remember not to downplay their illness or make statements like “you’re just sad”. Do your research, and remember to be empathetic rather than sympathetic. Reach out to professionals and support groups for an extended support network and a greater chance at moving towards recovery.
Have you dated someone with depression?
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