Everyone in the current time is aware of depression and anxiety and the impact that it can have on both men and women. Thankfully, as we live in an age where we are more aware of ourselves, we are more able to help and understand illnesses like these, compared to a time where we didn’t have enough information to educate us on how to handle it. Depression is a Black Dog; no matter how much therapy time that you go through or how many pills you take, it’s something that you learn to live with rather than fight into exhaustion. It’s also something that is extremely difficult to cope with every day; and not just for the sufferer.
Mental health is not something that only impacts those diagnosed with it. Being the partner of someone that battles with depression every single day is just as difficult, just as draining and just as saddening. Life isn’t supposed to be lived under a cloud, but when the person that you love is struggling, it’s exactly where you all live. There are mental health courses online that you could take, to give you a little more insight about how your partner is feeling. There isn’t anything that can prepare you for hearing that they don’t know why they feel the way that they do. Anyone who lives with someone that is suffering from depression will know that all they want to do is help, heal and cure the pain. If there is a reason for the problem, then there is a solution for it. Depression doesn’t have a reason, which makes it so hard to cope with.
Depression looks like something different for everyone who suffers with it. Some people are stuck in bed and cannot function while others are high-functioning and unless you knew them, would never think that they were stuck in the dark. Supporting a partner isn’t about telling them how to fix their problems, it’s about being there to hear their problems and help them to manage through it. Communication is absolutely key, and while it isn’t easy for someone with depression to articulate their feelings – how could it be when they don’t know why they feel that way? – it’s necessary to keep talking to them. It also is difficult for someone with depression to openly say that they are suffering. Instead of asking them if it’s a bad day, learn to pick up on their triggers with their mood and respond to those moods appropriately.
While you may not be able to take their depression away from them, you can be there for them to lean on you and this support that you provide will be vital to their mental health and helping them to be healed. They will need a space to feel they can be safe, and you are that safety for them. Having a relationship with someone suffering depression is hard and can be draining, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t need support, too.