What To Do If Your Partner is Depressed

Depression is an illness that not only affects the bearer but everyone around them at times and knowing that your partner is depressed can be one of the most hurtful and lonely situations it is possible to be in. Whilst your mind will most likely be on your partner and how to help them deal with their situation you must also deal with all the questions and self-doubt the illness brings about in yourself, often without any support.  Whether you feel fear or resentment, having a partner with the illness is likely to stir up a lot of emotions and questions about your life and your relationship, but knowing that there are things you can do to help and get support yourself can help you along the road of your partner's recovery.

Recognize the signs of depression and encourage your partner to seek help

Depression is not feeling a bit down or having a bad day. It can become a debilitating illness and is best treated as quickly as possible. Early symptoms of depression include

  • Sadness that lasts for over two weeks
  • Loss of interest in things they used to enjoy
  • Feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Suicidal thoughts

  • If you notice these changes in your partner, encourage them to see a healthcare professional. They may be embarrassed about their condition or believe that they are able to pull through on their own but seeing a doctor will expedite their recovery and allow them to talk through their feelings with a professional.

    Learn about depression

    Look around for resources on depression, whether they are your doctor, support groups, books or the internet. Understanding the illness will help you to better understand your partner and what they are going through. There are also a number of books available about people living with depressed partners and contain excellent advice on how to live with somebody with depression. Try and learn about depression with your partner, so that you share the experience and they know that you are there to help them through their recovery.

    Look after yourself

    It may sound selfish to advocate looking after number one when your partner is suffering, but in order to best help them you must first ensure that you are fit and healthy in mind and body. It’s easy to put your own needs aside in favour of your partner but making sure you eat and sleep well, keep in touch with family members and continue to partake in hobbies can mean you are better placed to help your partner. Your partner will likely want to distance themselves from the world at times, but if you miss out on family gatherings or visits with friends then that may only add stress and loneliness to your life and build resentment for your partner which can add to their feelings of self-hatred.

    Allow yourself to feel upset

    Many people feel as though they are unable to feel down when their partner is depressed, but it is completely normal to feel rejected, unloved or guilty about your partner’s condition. Know that this is not your fault, but allow yourself to feel the way that you feel and talk this out with a loved one or a support group for those living with a depressed partner. You may be surprised by how many people are in just your position and hearing the stories of those who have come through on the other side can bring hope to both you and your partner.

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