Over 16 million Americans are estimated to suffer depressive episodes in any given year. That’s a statistic that puts a burden not only on the person suffering the mood disorder, but also on their partners and relationships.
It’s not always easy to be supportive of your partner when they’re going through depression. Sometimes, it’s hard to recognize the underlying problem, and the behavior it influences can often start a response cycle that’s difficult to resist.
Relationships are based on teamwork, but depression can be a major challenge to handle on your own. You may need professional advice to approach your support role with positivity and mindfulness. Dr. Jon Deam of Dr. Jon Deam recommends that you seek contact when you first suspect depression in your partner. He and his team can help to guide your support as well as offer medical care for your partner directly.
Recognizing when depression is the problem
The behavior changes that accompany depression may not present a clear picture of the reasons for them. Your partner’s mood can change overnight, accompanied by unexplained anger or crying. The things in which they typically took pleasure may no longer be of interest. They may seem listless, and their sleep patterns could change.
Every person’s response to depression is different, and they may not even realize they’re depressed. Your first line of support may be the encouragement of medical care. A visit to their primary care physician could provide the motivation it takes to seek further wellness coaching to ease their depression cycle.
Supporting your partner
There are a few key things you can do to be a supportive partner. Since you’re reading this, you’ve already started to educate yourself about depression and how you can help. The more you know, the more positively you can be there for your loved one.
It’s not personal
Remember that depression is a mood disorder. Your partner has something wrong with their body, and it’s influencing their behavior. It’s easier, of course, to forgive heavy coughing when they have a cold, but it can be irrationally annoying. The same is true of the sadness and anger that often accompany depression. It’s important you acknowledge these without judgment.
Depression is treatable, but often resisting treatment is a depression symptom. Encourage treatment without blame or accusation, and approach it with patience. Phrases that originate from your feelings may be better received. Try sentences that start with “I’m concerned,” or “I noticed,” rather than choosing “you aren’t” or “you did” statements.
Support the team
Demonstrating unconditional support may be the foundation your partner needs to find their feet in the midst of their depression. Knowing that you’re there for them, no matter what, can abate some of the fear that often surrounds the disorder.
Care for yourself
To be effective as your partner’s support, you must tend to your own wellness, too. It’s particularly important when there are children or other dependents involved. Your personal time allows you to preserve the resources that both you and your partner must draw from during the depressive cycle.
Dr. Jon Deam offers both in-person and telemedicine mental health care. Contact the office by phone or online to arrange a consultation for yourself or your partner today.