How to help a boyfriend with depression
Many people find themselves supporting a partner with depression at some point in their lives. The support of family and friends can play an important role in the treatment of mental health conditions. Depression is a condition that affects around 16 million adults in the United States each year. Depression can take its toll on relationships and may cause loved ones to feel helpless, frustrated, or fearful. In this article, we explore ways in which people can support a partner with depression in their journey toward recovery.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: How to Help a Depressed Friend or Partner
SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: How to Support a Loved One Struggling With Mental IllnessContent:
How to support a partner with depression
No one teaches us how to navigate a relationship when mental illness or depression enters the equation. I recently read a Washington Post article by a woman whose relationship was torn apart while she and her partner tried to deal with his depression. Last year when I plunged into a depressive episode during our relationship, my partner was at a loss.
He had never dealt with this and wanted so badly to help, but had no idea what to do. Sure we hit bumps along the road, but in the end I felt loved, supported, and understood in a way I never had before during a depressive episode, and he felt like he knew what was going on—a big deal in this situation—and was equipped to deal with it.
It operates on the notion that the not-depressed partner is wonderful and selfless for standing by the partner with depression. They should therefore feel so lucky their partner is generously taking them on—ergo, broken and lucky. This means trying to follow their lead. Listening more than you talk. Trusting each other. Believing your partner or spouse when they describe their symptoms.
Learning about what depression is. Meeting your partner where they are. Being open to communicating differently. Someone dealing with depression is living in a whole different world. Getting angry at them for not showing up for you the same way they did before a depressive episode struck is like getting mad at your dog for not being ice cream—futile, frustrating, and kind of mean.
One of the first things I taught my partner was the Spoon Theory. Created by Christine Miserandino whom I consider the patron saint of folks with chronic invisible ailments , the Spoon Theory gave my partner a concrete understanding of my limited physical, mental, and emotional resources, as well as a simple language with which to ask about them. The other resource that we found most helpful in understanding the unique language around depression was, well, a video game!
When my partner first played it, he called me, sounding shaken. I told him yes, and he admitted that depression was so much harder, scarier, and more frustrating than it looks from the outside.
Depression looks different from person to person and even from episode to episode , but I have never seen anything else evoke the feelings of depression the way that game does. It can make us people who get angry easily.
When your partner feels like they are ruining your plans, not fun to be around, crying yet again, both may kick in. Then repeat. A lot. Do you need me to bring you anything before I go? I was lucky heading into my last episode, because I am an introvert in a long distance relationship with a pretty intense extrovert, so we were already used to socializing separately. This is especially true for partners who live together. Here are a few tips for managing seasonal depression.
The solution here is so simple, though: take responsibility for your own social life. Make the plans you want to make, let your partner know they are welcome to join, but wherever they are is okay remember? You may need to discuss this idea with your partner if separate socializing is new for you, but ultimately, this can lift a whole lot of strain off of you both of you and your relationship, while giving you each much-needed self-care time.
This is a lot of work for one person, and you are doing some serious heavy-lifting by supporting a depressed partner in a relationship. What about when you need someone to be your soft landing place and during a period of time when your partner just CANNOT do it? Make sure you have your own support network. Hopefully your partner has a therapist, and you may want to consider one for yourself.
Overall, when it comes to navigating depression in relationships together, think about what will make you each stronger. These ideas are all about standing in solidarity with your partner, validating them when they feel vulnerable, and ensuring support for yourself. When we talk about depression and relationships, we tend to talk about frustration, anger, and confusion.
I firmly believe getting on the same page with one another can remedy a whole lot of that, because I believe people have more capacity for empathy and mutual support than we give them credit for. This article was originally published on YourTango ; republished with the kindest permission. Looking for real talk about the most important relationships in your life? Who isn't! YourTango is our go-to destination for cathartic love advice, sexy tips, brave personal essays, and an amazing network of experts who solve our trickiest dilemmas.
Whether you're single, married, divorced, or in-between, the online magazine is not afraid to cover the stuff we all think, but don't say out loud. Also, the articles and hilarious memes on their Facebook page bring tears to our eyes! The literature on what to do or what NOT to do can feel a little cloudy. Our experiment worked! This unhealthy model only results in anger, resentment, and destroyed relationships.
Clearly, it means a lot of things. Create a Common Language. Find a Support System for Yourself. What about when you need to vent? How do you stop that from filling you with frustration and resentment? Comments comments.
Depression in Men
It can be quite challenging to help a loved one through depression. When this person is your boyfriend, you will feel your own emotional pain. Your boyfriend may be angry and lash out at you often. He may even try to withdraw from you completely.
If you are in a relationship with someone who has depression, you are likely struggling with a mix of emotions and hosts of questions. What's it really like to feel depressed? What can you do to help them through hard times? How will their symptoms and treatment impact your relationship?
Tips for Coping With Depression in a Relationship
Editor's Note: Every Monday, Lori Gottlieb answers questions from readers about their problems, big and small. Have a question? Email her at dear. My boyfriend and I are in our early 20s, and we recently moved in together after being in a long-distance relationship for four years. I can barely get a normal conversation. I feel so alone. He is trying to get help, but he refuses to go on any medications or stick with a plan to get better for very long. I am so scared that this is going to always be his life—a constant roller-coaster ride controlled by depression.
Dear Therapist: My Boyfriend’s Depression Is Making Me Question Our Future Together
When your spouse has depression , you might be very worried, and feel utterly helpless. After all, depression is a stubborn, difficult illness. Your partner might seem detached or deeply sad. They might seem hopeless and have a hard time getting out of bed. They might be irritable with a swiftly shrinking fuse.
I met Steve when I was at sixth form college and noticed him straight away. It was hard not to: he was tall with blue eyes and had a massive red Mohican. But he was also funny, kind and had a tight-knit group of friends.
Supporting a partner with depression
As men, we like to think of ourselves as strong and in control of our emotions. When we feel hopeless or overwhelmed by despair we often deny it or try to cover it up. But depression is a common problem that affects many of us at some point in our lives, not a sign of emotional weakness or a failing of masculinity.
Standing on the sidelines when a partner battles depression can feel like a helpless experience. You might feel confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed. You are not alone. Depression is an isolating illness that can negatively impact relationships and leave loved ones feeling helpless and afraid. The mood in major depression is often described as sad, hopeless, discouraged, or feeling down, but it can also include persistent anger. Angry outbursts and blaming others is common.
‘I broke up with my boyfriend when he had depression’
Depression builds walls around people and between people. When someone you love has been dragged inside those walls, there can be a distance between you both that feels relentless. Not in the way you both want to be anyway. The symptoms of depression exist on a spectrum. Not everyone who has depression will have a formal diagnosis, so knowing what to watch out for can help to make sense of the changes you might notice. Depression looks like a withdrawal.
Help is out there and recovery is possible. Partners are often the first line of defence in the fight against depression. It can be tough, but having an open dialogue about depression is essential and can actually bring you closer together. With other guys a direct approach is best. Start with what you feel comfortable asking and go from there.
During Men's Health Week, here's how you can help if a man in your life is suffering with depression and anxiety. But what should you do if your boyfriend or husband is suffering from mental health problems? A key warning sign that your boyfriend is dealing with depression or anxiety is him shutting down communication. Not every conversation has to be about how he is feeling, as that can feel claustrophobic.
Find out more about cookies and your privacy in our policy. Read about how Sara dealt with the overwhelming experience of helping her depressed boyfriend, and the lessons she learnt in the process. Seeing a loved one go through a hard time always impacts you in some way or another.