Help!  My Partner is Depressed:  7 Strategies

It is very difficult when someone you love has depression especially if you have not experienced depression yourself.  It is confusing and you can’t understand why your partner can’t make a choice to change their mood and do better.  Please know that if your partner could do this they would as depression can be debilitating and the person experiencing it only wants the depression to end.  Find information and to strategies to assist in dealing with your partner’s depression

Many studies have found that being divorced, separated, or widowed is closely linked to depression. The loss of a marriage may lead to depression, or depression may lead to loss of a marriage. A 2000/2001 study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety that analyzed depression statistics from the Canadian National Population Health Survey found that major depression doubled a person’s chance of becoming divorced or separated.

The NIMH also notes that:

  • Married women are more likely to be depressed than unmarried women.
  • Married men are less likely to be depressed than unmarried men.
  • Unhappily married women are three times more likely to be depressed than unhappily married men.

Consider relationship therapy.  As you see above, marriage seems to create a protective buffer against depression for men, but not for women.  Remember that a specific problem such as infertility or a death can trigger depression.  Or that your spouse might be struggling with your relationship or attachment insecurity.  .  When were insecure we often believe the person we love will let us down and are disappointed.  Find an Emotionally Focused Couples Therapist (EFT) therapist to assist you deepen your relationship and learn new ways to relate

Coach self to see partner’s strengths daily.  Depression effects everyone.  Depression effects the partner and the partner often can start to suffer from depression.  Depression also causes you to see your partner in a more negative light. Remember to think about the strengths of your partner-5 or 10 and pull those up when critical-write them down on the notes section of your phone.

Discuss and don’t suppress.  Harboring intense emotions without an outlet often adds to depression or causes depression.  Remember masking or trying to ignore your emotions will not make them go away and often makes them more intense.

Don’t tell them to snap out of it.  Instead offer them to assist in their journey toward recovery.  Dealing with depression often is a multifaceted healing approach.  Ask if you can talk a walk with them or your can listen to their struggles.  Assist them with scheduling appointments for therapy, for massage, for physician, etc.

Be educated as it is not a simplistic issue.  Since you don’t see the injury it can be very confusing.  Receive education and read about the effects of depression and what can help.

Don’t ignore the depression.  Ask your partner how they are doing daily and what went better.  Depression in a partner often makes you feel uncomfortable, makes your question if your partner is over reacting or you don’t know what to do for them.  As a human we often want to flee and shut down.  Coach yourself to do the opposite as your partner already experiencing loneliness and isolation.

Take care of yourself.  Anytime you have a member of your family who is experiencing a challenge it will effect you also.  So you might not have a day to take a retreat yet you have five minutes in the morning to utilize one of the wonderful meditation apps.  I recommend Calm or Headspace.  Think about therapy for yourself so you can get tools to assist yourself and your partner-it helps to have outside unbiased expertise to assist you through this complex land.

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