Dont Judge Criticize Or Preach
The words you say can have a strong impact on your friend or loved one. Depression is not a disease that will cede to logic, and repeated attempts to change the way your loved one is thinking is likely to make them feel guilty and weak instead of better.
Judging a loved ones struggles, or suggesting that they just need to get out of it or change the way their thinking implies that they have a choice in the way their thinking. This is simply not true of medical depression, and speaking about it in this way can isolate and hurt the same person youre trying to help.
Signs That Someone May Be Depressed
Depression has lots of possible symptoms.
You may notice that someone:
- has lost interest in doing things they normally enjoy
- seems to be feeling down or hopeless
- has slower speech and movements or is more fidgety and restless than usual
- feels tired or does not have much energy
- is overeating or has lost their appetite
- is sleeping more than usual or is not able to sleep
- has trouble concentrating on everyday things, such as watching TV or reading the paper
Discover New Ways To Communicate
Dating someone with depression can be hard. Its painful to watch someone you care about suffer and not be able to help them. It can be bewildering to listen to the person you admire and value most talk about themselves with extreme negativity, and in a way that doesnt at all align with how you see them. Their false but strong belief that they have accomplished nothing or that they have little to live for can leave you feeling helpless, and confused as to how to respond. These all-or-nothing, black-and-white thought patterns often illustrate depressed thinking. Depression has a loud and convincing voice that dominates the minds of those who suffer from it. There’s little room for reason, which makes it hard for partners to know how to be helpful.
Instead of fighting depression this way, devote yourself to learning how to live with depression. This means accepting your partner as they are. It means letting them have negative, painful beliefs, even when you really want them to see things differently. You can stop trying to treat their depression and instead offer empathy, care, and love. This is more likely to foster closeness and connection because youre no longer trying to change their minds.
The following actions will help you date someone with depression.
1. Create or maintain balance.
2. Learn how to support your partner in their suffering.
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When Someone You Love Has 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.;You miss them, but theyre right there beside you, except that theyre kind of not. Not in the way you both want to be anyway.
The symptoms of depression exist on a spectrum. All of them are normal human experiences, but in depression theyre intensified. 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. It feels that way too. Its a withdrawal from everything that is enriching and life-giving. Depression sucks the life out of life. Thats how it feels. When depression bites, everything becomes hard. Life starts to hurt. Those who are bitten stop looking forward to things. They stop engaging and they stop enjoying things, even the things they used to love. They can feel hard to reach, and sometimes they can be angry or appear as though they dont care. That isnt because they want to withdraw from you or;push you away, they dont, although it can feel that way.;
Here are some ways to fight for them, beside;them and for the times the fight has to be theirs, behind them:
How To Help A Person With Depression
Have you ever wondered how to help a person with depression? This post gives you all the details you need.
One night, I got a call from my friend; she said, Im so tired of my life, I cant eat or sleep; I dont want to live anymore.;
Her depression was worsening, and everyone became worried. Well, no one truly knew how to help her out.
She was turning 27 and really anxious about her low level of achievements.
I knew how she felt because Ive had firsthand experience with depression. This made me feel responsible for helping her get off that ledge.
There has been that much talk about depression, and it is a severe condition. But what can you really do for a person with depression?;
I share them here because, after years of groaning in the same pain, I realized that I needed these the most.
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Dont Take It Personally
Depression can make people behave in ways that they normally wouldnt when they are feeling well. They may become angry, irritable, or withdrawn. They may not be interested in going out or doing things with you like they used to. Your spouse or significant other may;lose interest in sex. When your loved one starts arguments that may seem to be out of nowhere, or blown out of proportion, understand that these things are not personal, and they dont mean that your partner no longer cares for or about you. They are symptoms of the illness that requires treatment.
How Can You Support A Partner With Depression
Just like in any relationship, its important to know and understand your partner. When they have depressive episodes, find out what they need, suggests Phillips. Do they want you to hold them? Do they want you to give them space? Do they want you to go on a walk with them? Ask questions so you can better understand how to help them through these moments.
With that said, though, dont be afraid to dive into some research yourself. The more that you learn about depression, the more you are able to understand what your partner is experiencing and how you can support them, says Miller. The National Institute of Mental Health and National Alliance on Mental Illness are great resources to get started.
Dont neglect your own self-care either. As mentioned before, make time for the things that you enjoy like working out, cooking, reading, yoga, meditating, going to therapy, etc. Making sure that you dont take on the burden of your partners emotions is key.
Finally, dont take things personally. Understand you cannot save or fix your partner. As their partner, it is normal to want to help them find relief from the heaviness of their distress. However, you will not be able to completely eradicate their depression or make them feel better and trying will leave you both feeling drained and frustrated, says Miller. What you can do: Always be understanding, kind, compassionate, and supportive for your person.
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Tips To Help Someone Who Seems Down
- Let them know you care and are there to listen.
- Accept them as they are, without judging them.
- Gently encourage them to help themselves;;for example, by staying physically active, eating a balanced diet and doing things they enjoy.
- Get information about the services available to them, such as psychological therapy services or depression support groups in their area.
- Stay in touch with them by messaging, texting, phoning or meeting for coffee. People who are depressed can become isolated and may find it difficult to leave their home.
- Try to be patient.
- Take care of yourself.
Ask: I May Not Understand What Youre Experiencing But I Do Know That There Is Always Meaning In Suffering
Without trivializing their experience, you can offer a model of acceptance that may help the person begin to accept their experience. Accepting ones suffering is often a first step to claiming it, becoming familiar with it, and potentially moving beyond it. Dont claim that you know the meaning of their pain. Let them know that you wish they werent hurting, and yet you have faith that this depression is valid and meaningful.
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Seek Mental Health Resources Together
When it comes to depression, sometimes the hardest step is the initial one. For some people, that may mean researching therapists or outpatient programs to treat depression.
Your friend might want to find professional help but their drive to do so might be missing because depression can zap people’s energy, says Natalie Dattilo, director of psychology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. If your friend asks you to help or they’re open to the idea, hop on the phone or FaceTime and google mental health resources together.
“As a friend, a partner, or a loved one, you could maybe make that first step with them… that they might be reluctant to do,” says Dattilo. You can also offer to take this first step by yourself if they don’t feel up to it, but make sure they agree, and never go behind someone’s back and do it, because it can feel like a breach of trust, says Landau.
Dattilo has looked up resources for her patients when they want to explore extra help beyond what Dattilo provides. But if a loved one doesn’t want your assistance or is resistant to seeking professional help, don’t push it.
Reluctance is common, says Landau, because seeking psychological help is still seen as shameful or weak.
“A person has;every right to not pursue mental health treatment if they don’t want to or don’t feel ready to. Sometimes giving our loved one the time and space they need can be the most helpful and loving thing to do,” says Dattilo.
Dont Make Excuses For Them
Empathy and support are vital when living with someone with depression, but they will also need encouragement to push themselves and try to help themselves improve. Depression is difficult, but it can sometimes be used as an excuse to avoid doing things that will help them to feel better.
The best person to tell what someone with depression cant do versus what they wont do is often the person living with them. You will be able to tell better than anyone if they genuinely cant get out of bed all day or if they do not want to. Dont push them too hard, but do encourage them to push themselves beyond what they want to do.
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Aim To Encourage Instead Of Giving Advice
Treatment helps improve depression symptoms for many people, so you might think its best to urge them to see a therapist. But saying things like, You should go to therapy or You need help may only make them feel worse.
Heres the thing about depression: It can make even simple tasks seem insurmountable. A quick internet search might seem easy to you, but someone in a depression fog might feel overwhelmed by just the thought.
Instead, try, Have you thought about talking to someone? If they seem open to the idea, make the process less daunting by offering to help them find a therapist, schedule an appointment, and go with them to their first sessions.
If theyre already in therapy, remember treatment can take time, and not all approaches work for everyone. Its always fine to ask how things are going, but avoid pressuring them to try other approaches.
Pushing lifestyle changes generally doesnt help, either. Avoid saying:
- You should exercise more.
- Going outside to get some sun will make you feel better.
- If you ate healthier foods, your mood would improve.
Instead, encourage them to do something with you:
- Im feeling a little restless. Lets go for a walk together.
- The weather is great today! Why dont we eat lunch outside?
Offering Help For Someone With Depression
If you recognize any of these signs in someone you care about, and if they persist or do not seem to go away after several days or a week, your loved one may have major depression. It is important that he or she get a professional medical opinion, preferably an evaluation and diagnosis by a psychiatrist. This can be a difficult subject to broach, but it is important to reach out and offer help so they can get treatment or enter rehab.
One of the most important things to remember when talking to someone about depression is to be compassionate, to listen, and to offer to be there. What someone with depression does not need is advice on how to feel better, or get over it. Be gentle and ask questions to get your loved one to open up instead. Express concern, but dont be judgmental.
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Emerging Trends In Substance Misuse:
- MethamphetamineIn 2019, NSDUH data show that approximately 2;million people used methamphetamine in the past year. Approximately 1;million people had a methamphetamine use disorder, which was higher than the percentage in 2016, but similar to the percentages in 2015 and 2018. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that overdose death rates involving methamphetamine have quadrupled from 2011 to 2017. Frequent meth use is associated with mood disturbances, hallucinations, and paranoia.
- CocaineIn 2019, NSDUH data show an estimated 5.5 million people aged 12 or older were past users of cocaine, including about 778,000 users of crack. The CDC reports that overdose deaths involving have increased by one-third from 2016 to 2017. In the short term, cocaine use can result in increased blood pressure, restlessness, and irritability. In the long term, severe medical complications of cocaine use include heart attacks, seizures, and abdominal pain.
- KratomIn 2019, NSDUH data show that about 825,000;people had used Kratom;in the past month. Kratom is a tropical plant that grows naturally in Southeast Asia with leaves that can have psychotropic effects by affecting opioid brain receptors. It is currently unregulated and has risk of abuse and dependence. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that health effects of Kratom can include nausea, itching, seizures, and hallucinations.
Try Psychological Techniques In Or Outside The Context Of Therapy
There are many strategies couples can use to stop depression from sucking the joy and fun from their relationship. After all, it can be disappointing when your man suddenly decides he doesnt feel well enough to go out on that evening you planned for weeks or says your idea for a fun trip sounds unpleasant or not worth it.
Therapist Lynn D. Johnson suggested a prediction activity, a technique he coaches his clients on. This involves asking your man to make a prediction about how pleasant or unpleasant he thinks an activity or event will be on a scale of one to 10 10 being amazing and zero being horrendous. When the event is done, ask him to rate how it actually was using the same scale.
If the number he offers is higher than than the prediction, its a great opportunity to show how depression does not need to stop a relationship from being fun and joyful. It might also chip away at the negative beliefs he uses to maintain the depression.
If he insists on not trying the original plan, there is a way to ensure you arent disappointed. Relationship expert April Masini recommended always having a Plan B, especially when dating a man with depression.
None of us are robots and just because we agree to something in a moment doesnt mean we wont feel differently in another moment, Masini said. Keeping commitments needs to be balanced with managing depression.
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If You Love Him Its Worth It
When you fall in love with a man, no obstacle seems too large. Depression can threaten a relationship, but couples can overcome it by understanding the illness and knowing how to respond to various situations.
It seems daunting, but these are only situations you should prepare for. They are not guaranteed to happen. Either way, youll know how to protect your mental health and do your best to make things work with your man.
If your partner is struggling with depression and its impacting your relationship, consider online couples counseling with a licensed therapist a convenient, inexpensive way to get your relationship back on track.;
Talkspace articles are written by experienced mental health-wellness contributors; they are grounded in scientific research and evidence-based practices. Articles are extensively reviewed by our team of clinical experts to ensure content is accurate and on par with current industry standards.
Our goal at Talkspace is to provide the most up-to-date, valuable, and objective information on mental health-related topics in order to help readers make informed decisions.
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It Could Always Be Worse/other People Have It Worse
This can make the person feel guilty for being depressed or anxious, when it is not their fault, says Saba Afzal, M.D., Residency Program director, Ocean Medical Center Department of Psychiatry. Also, this dismissal of their feelings may make them feel like they shouldnt open up to anyone again. Instead: Im so sorry this is happening. How can I support you?
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