Depression. A disease without a vaccine, it can strike unannounced at any time, anywhere, and without any semblance of a warning. Depression can always be the fire that can blaze emotional relationships if not checked and taken care of. “Dating someone with depression can be hard,” according to licensed social worker Caitlin Cantor LCSW, CST. If you intend to keep a healthy and fruitful relationship with someone who is depressed, here are 13 points to keep in mind.
It Is Not A Choice.
“If your loved one is struggling with depression, you may feel confused, frustrated and distraught yourself, “ said psychologist Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S. Helplessness. Frustration. These are the two things that often come with depression, and it isn’t one bit a pleasant sight. It can take hold of the victim, sapping the energy of the things they usually love to do and are reduced to a brooding, sad, empty, and in the worst cases, crying husk. Depression is no ordinary lousy day or foul mood. It is much worse. And no sane being ever chooses that. Take note.
Go Beyond the Usual Comfort Words.
Saying things like “it’ll get better,” “you need to get out of the house,” or “you’ll be fine” would be utterly empty and meaningless. They need better than that. At worst, you may be deemed as ‘shrugging it off,’ which is not suitable for your position. Resorting to using these tired old phrases only tells them that they’re not worth the effort, which is a big red flag in a relationship. Saying something along those lines makes you look like you’re only aiding them for the sake of the relationship, lacking any sincerity.
Saying such things only makes what they’re feeling worse, despite it coming from you. It even gives off the air of lack of effort. “Never accuse or suggest the depressed person of faking illness or of laziness, or expect him or her “to snap out of it.” said John M. Grohol, Psy.D. Gestures, actual or virtual, can be so much more meaningful than the old beaten path. Make them know and feel that you’re open anytime they’re down, to be a comforting hand.
It’s Ok If They Push You Away.
People with depression often feel like they’re an unnecessary burden to the people around them, which can lead to them closing themselves off from even their closest circles, which only makes it worse. If such a thing happens, let them know that you’re still there, but not too much as to force conversations where they aren’t comfortable.
It’s Ok To Be Frustrate.
In the right amount, that is. Dealing with a depressed partner isn’t synonymous to giving everything up for the other person and leave nothing for yourself. Surely, they need love and support, but if it starts negatively affecting your life, you are free to acknowledge this, while figuring out how you can best support them without having to self-sacrifice.
Draw The Line.
As discussed previously, it is essential to save some emotion for yourself, as betting everything you have isn’t exactly a healthy choice. Look for ways on how best to help them, while maintaining who you are now. Discuss to them your concerns and look for compromises and limits that can best work for the pair of you.
They Are Easily Overwhelmed.
With depression, constant exhaustion is always a sure thing. What may be the simple task of going through the day may be a significant burden to them. They may look to be perfectly fine one moment, then crumble and falter the next, despite them getting adequate sleeping hours. This can result in such rash decisions, including canceling plans suddenly, leaving an event early, or just outright refusal. Remember, it’s not your fault, and it’s just a graveside effect of living with it.
Next week, we will discuss more loving a person with depression.