People need to spend some time with their partner who is diagnosed with depression. Medications and therapies can’t alone treat these mental health conditions. Depressed people want some support from their loved ones that’s why family and friends should support their partner in the process of treating these types of conditions.
In the United States, around 16 million adults are diagnosing with depression every year. Depression may bring new problems to your relationship and it may cause your partner to feel sadness, hopelessness, and worried.
There are many ways you can support your partner who is suffering from depression and we will tell you how to do that in this article.
What are the questions you can ask your partner regarding depression?
Asking questions may help you to understand the severity of your partner problem and you will also get to know about how symptoms are affecting your partner’s life.
Your partner may feel good, get confidence and think that you are concerned about their feelings and experiences.
Following are the useful questions which you can ask your partner in order to support them:
- Can you explain to me what’s happening within you right now?
- Shall we do some of your favorite fun activities which you enjoy the most?
- Do you want to spend some time with your friends?
- Tell me about your energy levels?
- Are you sleeping for 6 hours a day or more?
- Did you find any changes in your eating habits?
- How are your concentration levels?
- Are you able to focus on your job?
- Are you getting thoughts of committing suicide?
What are the questions you shouldn’t ask your partner?
As your partner is already suffering from depression, there are some questions that may seem like blaming your partner or hurting their feelings. You have to keep in mind that all they need from you is support instead of judging them.
It’s important not to take this depression problem lightly, consider this is a serious complex illness.
Following are the questions that you need to avoid asking your partner:
- Can’t you behave like a normal person?
- Do you think I’m nuts?
- Do you think I can’t make you feel happy?
- When will you become a normal person again?
- Why are you acting like a weird person?
- Do you know that other persons suffer much worse than you?
What are the ways to support a partner?
Learning about depression, understanding and validating their feelings, asking them what they want from you, encouraging them during their treatment, and supporting them during the recovery are the common ways to support a person with depression. Let’s discuss these points in detail:
Learn about depression
In order to support your partner with depression, first, you should be aware of this mental health condition. It will become easy for you to support your partner with depression if you already know about this problem. Try to learn about the symptoms of depression as this will help you to identify the symptoms of depression in your partner.
Symptoms of depression can be categorized into two types. These include
- Mild symptoms
- Severe symptoms
According to the American psychiatric association, doctors can diagnose depression only if the symptoms last for at least two weeks.
Changes in sleeping habits, loss of energy, fatigue, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, difficulty concentrating, changes in appetite or weight, unable to make an important decision in your life, and feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and sadness are the common symptoms of depression.
How to understand and validate their feelings?
It’s better to listen to the person with depression instead of arguing with that person and express empathy, which is an ability to understand the feelings of others. One way to display empathy is to respond to what the other person is sharing with you.
If one of the partners feels that “things are never going to get better”, their partner should respond by saying things like “you are sounding as if you are not optimistic about the future.”
Sometimes, there will be no improvement in their condition though you are continuingly cheering that person. The characteristics of the illness do not consider sentences like “the next day will be a better day” or “try to keep your chin up”.
Get to know what they are expecting from you
To provide additional empathy and assistance, get to know the person and what they are expecting from you. They might require you to remind them constantly to consume the medication, your assistance while consulting the doctor or going through a therapy process, they might also want you to cook for them. Persons suffering from this condition might need cheering up while trying to socialize with people. They might want a hug every now and then. At certain times, they might need some privacy. You need to check with them constantly by posing certain questions like
- How can I help you?
- Is it okay if I help you with this…?
Motivate them to take treatment
People can lose their cheerfulness due to depression which serves as a hurdle to take treatment. Nevertheless, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, many people suffering from depression require frequent treatment to get better.
The person supporting the one with the depression can play a significant role when motivating them to consult a doctor or mental health professional. This can help the person suffering from depression regain their health. There are several ways to motivate your partner to take treatment. You can record and provide your partner’s symptoms to them and also you can share your opinions and views with them. It also helps if you let them know you want to help. Sharing the treatment options which include medications, certain therapies, and the change of lifestyle would help the person suffering from depression.
There is also another way to motivate your partner to consult with a doctor, wherein you need to schedule an appointment on behalf of your partner. However, you need to keep in mind that this request should be made by your partner. It would be better if you go with your partner while consulting the doctor.
Supporting your partner during recovery
While recovery from this mental health condition is achievable, but sometimes it will be difficult to get out of this. There are many ways which you can support your partner during their recovery phase like
- Spending some quality time with them
- Helping your partner to keep track of schedules with their doctors and medications
- Engaging with them during their physical activities such as yoga, gym, jogging and motivate them to do it daily
- Cheering them while they are trying to socialize with people
- Help them to maintain a healthful diet,
- Fix small goals for them and help them in the process of achieving those goals
- Play some fun activities at home in order to reduce their stress
- Never force them to take treatment when they are feeling normal
- Never make them feel helpless or alone.
Let them know that you will not leave them and say things like
- No matter what, I will never leave you
- We can go through the process of dealing with this problem
There are many support groups for the people who are suffering from depression and also for their family members.
Accept that there will be bad days
Bad days are common for people with depression and they need to accept this truth. There are several ways to deal with the bad days such as
- you need to know you are not the only one who is suffering from depression
- never leave the persons who are giving you support at this time
- accept those bad days are a part of depression
- give yourself a holiday
- go out and explore the nature
- remember that you are getting better day by day and also
- remember that good days are waiting for you
Take care of yourself too
Based on a study, when you are taking care of your partner with depression, there will be a risk that you may get chances of developing the symptoms of depression and that’s why you need to take care of yourself also. Chances of getting depressive symptoms are high in cases, where a man is taking care of a woman with depression.
Sometimes, caring for a partner with depression will be like
Exercising regularly, trying to stay positive, adequate sleep and rest, taking help from friends or relatives, give yourself a holiday and spend the time by doing your enjoyable activities, having realistic expectations about the recovery process, eating a healthful diet, and socializing with others are the common ways to prevent the symptoms of depression for the people who are supporting the person with a mental health condition.
When they require professional assistance?
Taking your physician’s help is a vital part of the recovery process. Always seek help for a professional who can recommend antidepressants for your problem, or can conduct psychotherapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy, humanistic therapy, holistic therapy, or both.
Call 911 or contact your healthcare provider immediately in life-threatening situations, or when you observe the severe symptoms of this mental health condition, or if the diagnosed person is getting thoughts of committing suicide.
What are the warning signs of suicide?
People who are suffering from depression might get frequent thoughts of committing suicide. Half of the people who committed suicide are suffering from major depression. That’s why we need to observe the depressed people all day long.
Giving away belongings, having a suicide plan, saying goodbye to family and friends, collecting pills or buying a gun, talking about death or suicide all the time, sudden changes in mood or personality, engaging in risky or reckless behavior and withdrawing socially are the warning signs of depression.
Call 911 or seek emergency assistance if you suspect your partner is going to commit suicide.
Supporting a partner who is suffering from depression is not an easy task for a caregiver, because they have to help them both emotionally and practically. Taking proper care can help them to recover fastly from depression.
It will be difficult for the person who is taking care of a person who is suffering from a mental health condition and that’s why caregivers also should take good care of their health.