Are you dating someone with depression? Learn how to support your partner with depression while being mindful of your personal mental health and needs. Santos Counseling helps couples overcome challenges with Depression.
Are you in a relationship with someone that struggles with depression?
Do you find yourself taking on roles in the relationship that create emotional pain or stress?
Do you find yourself having to provide pick me up statements?
Depression is a mental health disorder that can be seen when someone experiences sadness more days than not, problems focusing and concentrating, lethargy, a lack of interest for previously pleasurable activities, low self-image or self-esteem, potential suicidal thoughts, negative thoughts, and/or irregular changes to sleep and appetite.
One of the obstacles that accompany dating someone with depression is creating a foundation that highlights balance. When I mention balance, I am focusing on the ability to play on roles that are appropriate versus those that create emotional stress. For instance, it would be appropriate for me to provide my partner with a short lesson in Spanish as I am bilingual. However, it would be inappropriate to provide my partner with a physical examination due to my lack of knowledge.
How do I know if I’m helping or hurting my partner with their depression?
Take the case study below as an example.:
Jack often finds that he has to provide his partner, Sally, with motivational words to improve her mood. Although Jack has his own issues, he rarely finds time to share them due to spending his time working on ways to improve Sally’s mood. Jack feels that he walks on egg shells due to not wanting to say anything that would hurt Sally. Sally has a history of struggling with low-esteem and confidence. Jack tries his best to uplift Sally’s mood by asking her to go exercise together, spend time with friends and family, or walking the dog.
In the case example above, we can note that Sally may be struggling with irregular changes in mood. The irregular changes can be low self-esteem or low self-confidence. Jack appears to put himself second and spend much of his time proving positive words to Sally. In addition, Jack appears to be taking on a role that is expending his energy and even out of his scope of skill.
It would be more appropriate for Sally to have a foundation where she received counseling, engaged in positive coping skills, and established a larger support system.
How to support your partner with depression?
To create a lasting relationship, partners should take time to focus on what they can do improve the relationship and what needs to be referred out to improve the relationship. If you find that you are acting as your partners counselor or feel exhausted with the amount of emotional work you are taking on, it may be beneficial to seek counseling.
Below are ways to support your partner with depression.:
- Engage in exercise activities together
- Have a weekly board game night
- Take time to watch funny movies where laughter is welcomed
- Include counseling and wellness as part of the foundation of the relationship
Are you finding this information helpful? If so, you may be interested in the relationship building course.
Below are ways to tell your partner what you can do and what you cannot do?
Sharing that you are not able to always provide positive feedback or words of affirmation can be difficult. I find this difficult due to the emotional connection between partners. To aid the process, consider the overall health of the relationship. Take into account the overall damage being done in the long run versus the small win in the moment. For instance, if one is tired and provides a pick me up statement to their partner. The partner may feel better. However, the one that provided the statement is feeling tired and potentially unsure of how long they can continue playing the role.
- Create a list of what you are open to doing versus what you are not.
- Practice voicing your thoughts.
- Share your thoughts if you feel that you are walking on egg shells.
- Evaluate progress bi-monthly.
Dating someone with depression is normal. It’s like dating someone that eats spaghetti without sauce. It’s different. However, it’s not out of this world. I find that taking time to learn all we can about our partner and ourselves provides insight. Take time to learn how to help each other even if it means that you are not the one directly helping. Take time to give yourself breaks without feeling guilt.
Lastly love each other as often as possible.
If you found this article on dating and depression helpful, I’d like to recommend the relationship building course. It’s a home-based self-paced relationship course aimed to improve relationships.
Click here to read more about the relationship strengthening course
If you are interested in relationship counseling with Juan Santos. Complete the form below or call 336-707-1723.
When should you see a counselor about depression?
Certain levels of sadness can be normal. For instance, if you saw an emotional movie and experienced crying for a short-period of time. This is normal. You are expressing a normal emotion.
However, when you experience the following symptoms, it’s recommended to seek a counselor.:
- If you experience suicidal thoughts.
- If your depression is impacting your ability to work. This can be noted if you can’t focus at work and have noticed a decline in your performance.
- If getting out of bed or taking care of yourself feels like a difficult task.
- If you find that you do not care about yourself.
- If you are using drugs or alcohol to manage the depression symptoms.
- If you feel unmotivated.
- If you do not know how to support your partner with depression and would like recommendations.
- If you notice that the depression is not going away.
As you are reading over the symptoms, I like to welcome you to reach out for concerns. If you are unsure about counseling or if you have Depression Disorder, please email me at ([email protected]). I’ll gladly go over your concerns and do my best to lead you in the right direction.