Depression is hard on everyone. As a partner of someone who suffers, you will often feel helpless in your quest to make them feel better. While there is no cure for depression, there are ways you can offer help to your partner and make their lives easier – here are seven of them.
1. Initiate Conversations
Depression can get worse with the absence of talking. Instead of leaving your partner with their negative thoughts, try initiating more open conversations about their illness. It might be difficult to get them to open up at first, but they might be more willing to let you over time. Just remember not to push too hard, as this could have the opposite effect.
2. Encourage Counselling
If your partner is not already in counseling, then you should encourage it. Again, don’t be too pushy with this – instead, gently suggest that it’s an option for them if they feel ready.
If you and your partner are on the lookout for mental health treatment, then the Life Adjustment Team can offer psychiatric case management to help with coping mechanisms. Remember, the first step is the hardest, but everything else will be easier once you get the ball rolling.
3. Educate Yourself
The better educated you are on depression, the better support you can provide, so research the illness as much as you can. Look into common symptoms, causes, and warning signs of suicide to give the best care possible for your partner.
4. Create a Positive Home Life
While your partner may feel down or empty on the inside, you can at least provide a positive and comfortable space on the outside. Improve the lighting, keep the place clean, and have lots of fun activities around to influence better moods. Music can help people with depression, too, so consider keeping the radio on.
5. Enjoy the Good Days
Depression doesn’t always show its ugly head. On the days where your partner feels excited or wants to do something fun, embrace that. Cherish every good moment you get and remind them of those times when they’re not feeling their best.
6. Forgive the Harder Times
Depression isn’t always crying and feeling down – sometimes, it can come out as anger or frustration. While that might be hard to deal with, especially when you’re putting in so much effort, it’s important to forgive the harder times to move on to the good.
Of course, this has its limits, and you should never let your mental health suffer to please someone else. Just remember that anger isn’t always personal, and their depression can make them act differently from how they feel.
7. Look After Yourself
You can’t provide support to your partner with depression if you are feeling stressed or down yourself. Remember to take your mental health into account, too, and if you are feeling burned out, don’t feel bad for taking a step back and looking after yourself for a while.
Depression isn’t fair on anyone, but your loved one will feel more secure around you by being a supportive partner.