Depression is a psychological illness that affects a person’s life, and when you are in a relationship with someone who is experiencing the mental condition, everything can change. A lot of times, it is hard to understand the situation that’s why it causes us to break down and have difficulties functioning because we sometimes fail to help the person we love. We try to do things for them that we think are helpful, but they aren’t. Therefore, it is essential that we understand everything about depression for us to be able to help our significant other.
One of the worst symptoms of depression is a feeling of hopelessness. This very feeling can inhibit someone suffering from taking the steps that would help them combat their depression. — Lisa Firestone, Ph.D.
Using Encouraging Words
When we tell our loved one to look on the brighter side of things, get out from their comfort zone, and see things differently, we encourage them to be positive. The truth is, those words don’t help them at all. Our significant other’s mental condition is incomparable to having a bad day or feeling sad. We need to understand that though we may have a list of encouraging words, it’s not something that our partner can quickly adapt. Sometimes, instead of trying to help, we even tend to give them reasons to feel more helpless and devastated about their situation.
So instead of pushing our significant others to fight the depression, it’s better to show them our support by sticking up for them. We need to let our partner know how much they mean to us and that we believe in their capability to get through all of life’s struggles. It’s important that they acknowledge our effort in making them feel better. With that said, it’s much better to provide enough reasons for them to live rather than give them options in battling the mental illness.
You may become a watcher—watching what the depressed person says, what they look like, how they acted, and what didn’t happen. You may become a detective trying to identify something that will create change and bring lightness. — Angela Avery, MA, LLPC, NCC
Danger Of Unsolicited Advice
It’s common for us to show our support to our loved ones, but there are times that we are overdoing it. Depressed people don’t want to get advice because they know what to do. Just because we think they seem to be weak and vulnerable doesn’t mean they don’t think about solutions to their situation. We make comments and suggestions but they probably already thought about these before we even offer them. Telling someone what they should and should not do, even though it’s practically useful, are not going to help them at any cost. It only adds to their stress and frustration if they can’t execute it.
Sadly, the reaction of many people is to say simplistic and dismissive things like, “Just pray more,” “Get more exercise,” or “You just need to think yourself into a better place.” — Jenise Harmon, LISW-S
So instead of giving unsolicited advice that makes our partner feel sorry for their situation, we can at least try to ask them what they want to do. We can talk to them about new ideas that we think might help and allow them to decide if it’s something they would like to try. It’s better to let them be in control of their lives.
It’s not an easy battle for our loved ones because it can affect us and we can affect their decisions too. So if we want to see them attain the overall development we want for them, we need to provide them the only thing they need – unconditional love.