Depression is something that one in five people will experience their lifetime, so there is a good chance that you love one of them.
Anyone who has ever been in a relationship with someone who’s depressed knows that this mental disorder has the ability to spread sadness and desperation far and wide. Depression can cause people to withdraw emotionally and shut the rest of the world out. Every single day is a struggle.
Knowing that someone you love is dealing with depression leaves you feeling powerless, frustrated, confused and maybe even troubled yourself. It can feel like you’re walking on eggshells all the time. It can sabotage even the strongest of relationships.
Depression hurts more than just the person suffering from it.
One day they may seem perfectly fine, and the next they are miserable, distant and may even push you away. Loving someone with depression is very hard, but as hard as it is, this is when your loved one needs you the most. Although we may not understand what going on inside of their minds, or be able to grasp why it is they’re doing the things they’re doing, there are things we can do to lessen their suffering.
Here are 10 things to remember when you love someone who suffers from depression.
1. Challenge their destructive thoughts. Help them take themselves less seriously. Many who suffer from depression often feel unloved and unworthy and constantly put themselves down. Make an effort to reassure them of their positive attributes.
2. If they talk, just listen. Try not to offer advice unless they ask for it. Sometimes, helping someone with depression means doing nothing at all except listening.
3. Don’t try to “fix” them. Never make your loved one feel like they need to hurry up and get better.
4. Be patient. Don’t give up on them. Be there for the really terrible times and the incredibly beautiful ones. Patience is one of the most important aspects of supporting someone you love with depression. Assure them that it doesn’t matter how long it takes to reach recovery, because you’ll be there no matter what. With patience comes hope.
5. Ask them what you can do to help. Depression can make a person feel totally incapable of completing even the simplest of tasks or knowing exactly what they need.
6. Laugh with them. Humor is actually a vital part of dealing with depression. Within the echoes of laughter lies hope.
7. Don’t take it personally. They’re not depressed because of you. Sometimes your loved one may say things that upset you. Although they may come off as irrational at times, try not to react defensively.
8. Don’t be judgmental.
9. Be compassionate and understanding. Someone who is depressed needs love and acknowledgment.
10. Taking care of yourself is just as important. Your own physical and mental well being shouldn’t be put on the back burner. You are just as important as the person you’re in a relationship with and attempting to care for.