My partner is depressed. How can I be supportive while maintaining my own mental health?
Life often presents us with things that are challenging not only for individuals but also for their relationships. One of these challenges may be when your partner suffers from depression.
The first step to supporting your partner is understanding depression as best you can. Depression is a complex illness that affects not only the mood but also the energy and motivation of a person. There are different reasons for depression and other ways to work with a depressed person. Try to understand as much as possible in general terms first. If there comes a time when your partner wants to talk, ask them about what helps them and how you can help them.
Providing emotional support
People with depression need to know that they have the support of their loved ones. Be patient and empathetic. Listen to your partner and express your support with words like "I'm here for you" and "You can talk to me anytime." Sometimes, it can be challenging but try to take a deep breath, take a moment to remember time spent together and then smile at your partner.
Helping your partner to seek professional care
Professional help is often crucial to treating depression. Help your partner find a suitable therapist or psychiatrist. Let your partner know you are in this and can get through it together. It is essential to make a plan and stick to it at the time.
Even if depression prevents you from living life to its fullest, try to do simple activities that you and your partner can manage together. This could be a short walk, watching a favourite film or cooking together. Maintaining and building relationships is necessary to get through these difficult times together.
Work and possible sick leave
Sometimes, depression can be so severe that your partner may need time off work. Support them in the decision to stop working, especially if a doctor recommends it. Financial matters and family provision are stressful, but health shall always be a priority. Depression without professional treatment on sick leave alone can subside within six months, depending on the individual situation.
Your mental health
You may feel increasing pressure on your mental health as caring for a depressed person can be challenging. If you don't look after your own needs, it can have a negative effect on you. Take your time to relax and seek support from family, friends or a therapist. Carefully explain to your partner that if you are still to be supportive, you need to be in good mental health yourself.
Don't be afraid to search for support through therapy or a support group. If you are caring for a partner with depression, your mental health is just as important. Being supportive to a partner with depression can be challenging. You should also look after your mental health and don't be afraid to seek help when needed.
You can overcome this challenge and strengthen your relationship with professionals and mutual support. You can contact our clinic anytime if you are in a similar situation.