Does your loved one have depression or just a bad case of the blues?
Depression is a common mental health disorder. Even so, it’s not always easy to recognize in others, particularly someone close to you. Moreover, depression can present differently from person to person so it’s tough to make general assumptions. On top of all that, once you’ve learned your partner is suffering from depression… what do you do?
For anyone who has a loved one with depression, compassionate knowledge and loving support are key. For you and for them it’s important to act now in the following ways:
- Educate yourself about the disorder
- Learn to identify common symptoms
- Guide your partner to treatment
What to Look For
Depression symptoms can appear to be something else entirely. For example, a person may suddenly have a decrease in sex drive. You may address this in countless ways without realizing the source. So, here are some of the more obvious and common red flags to watch for:
Low energy and an inability to handle daily tasks are signs to consider. As the disease progresses, this can lead to your partner staying in bed all day.
Loss of Pleasure
Everyone has activities they enjoy. Depression can cause a person to lose interest in these activities. This goes double for interests that require more than a little effort.
The frustration caused by symptoms like loss of pleasure or low energy may result in angry outbursts.
Loss of Self-Esteem
This is a hallmark of depression. Your loved one may exhibit an alarming decrease in confidence.
Changes in Sleeping Patterns
- Trouble falling asleep and staying asleep
- Difficulty getting up in the morning
- Erratic sleep habits
Changes in Eating Patterns
- Eating too much or too little
- Sudden, unexplained weight loss or gain
- Choosing “comfort” foods
- Losing interest in how one looks
These can range from having a negative outlook to talking about death and dying to express suicidal thoughts.
How to Be Helpful When Your Loved One Has Depression
This begins, of course, with researching from reliable sources. You’ll be in a better position to avoid falling for misconceptions. In addition, familiarize yourself with disability laws to better understand your and your partner’s rights. Finally, gather all the information possible about any medications that are prescribed.
Don’t Take It Personally
So, your partner is not interested in anything — including sex. In addition, they occasionally lash out at you in ways that feel random and unpredictable. You’re only human and you may be tempted to take things personally. The more you educate yourself, the better you’ll understand that you are not the target. That said, this may be the kind of situation that calls for you also going to see a therapist.
By now, it should be more than clear that your loved one’s depression can take a toll on you, too. You will be unable to help them unless you take care of yourself. No matter what, commit to a daily self-care regimen. This may include:
- Engaging in exercise and activity
- Regular sleep patterns
- Healthy eating choices
- Practicing stress management
You may also consider connecting with a caretaker support group.
Trade Blame For Hope
Your partner’s depression is not your fault. And it’s not their fault. Resist the urge or need to assign blame. Instead, choose to aim that energy toward finding sources of hope — for both of you.
Help is One Phone Call Away
Both you and your loved one need guidance. I invite you to reach out today to get that process started. Depression is an overwhelming condition and there is absolutely no shame in asking for help. Please read more about depression treatment, and then reach out for a confidential consultation today.