If a Loved One Has Depression, How Can a Partner Support Them?

If a Loved One Has Depression, How Can a Partner Support Them?

Loving someone with depression is challenging, especially when you are unable to help them. It can be frustrating when your partner is not just depressed, but due to depression is irritable, angry, or withdrawn. There are many ways to support a loved one with the right time and patience.


Patience is a virtue, and never more so when a loved one is plunged in the depths of depression. It is key to understand, that they don’t want to be depressed, it’s something they can’t help. Start with not taking their words or actions personally. You wouldn’t be upset if your partner was down with the fever, and so couldn’t take the trash out or do the dishes. It has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with the depression. Which is why being patient with them and the situation is necessary. 

Recognizing The Symptoms

A lot of the issues you’re having with your depressed partner may stem from the fact that you are unable to recognize the symptoms of depression. When you know that their behavior is due to the fact that they are depressed, then you are more easily able to distance yourself from their behavior, instead of wondering why they are being hurtful towards you. Some common symptoms of depression include anger, sadness, irritability, feelings of hopelessness, disturbed sleep, loss of interest in things that previously brought enjoyment, feelings of worthlessness, lethargy, isolation, and feeling like things won’t get better. When you recognize the symptoms, you can catch a depressive episode early and can help in limiting its severity.

Be A Good Listener

Our default nature makes us want to offer advice when we want to help a loved one feel better. However, if you haven’t been through depression, then you probably don’t have any useful advice to offer. But when you make an effort to listen to your partner, they will know that you care and want to understand their feelings. Ask questions, and let them talk. Being there, and listening will help more than throwing out advice will. 

Help Them Get Help

Depression rarely cures itself. Professional help can be a boon for someone with depression, but they may not always want to go get help. This is where your encouragement can be a nudge they need. It is important not to force the issue, but to make the suggestion, and to emphasize that therapy really does help people with depression and that your only motive is to see your partner get better.

Finally, it is important to take care of yourself, as much as you are taking care of your partner. A depressive episode could last for weeks or months, and if you want to help a loved one, you have to be healthy to do so. Make sure you get enough sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Spend time with other loved ones. If you are healthy, you will be better able to manage the care for a loved one who is depressed. 

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