Depression; it is not easily talked about and is a rough subject for everybody. Many people have been through, are going through or will go through a depression at some point in their lifetime. This causes stress on, of course, the one experiencing it and those who are apart of their life. Yes, being the parent or best friend of someone who has been diagnosed with depression may be tough but there are so many difficulties that come with being in a relationship and loving someone with depression. Here are 12 things you should ALWAYS remember if you are over the moon, head over heels in love with someone who is depressed.
1. it’s not your fault.
Conclusions are often jumped to and I’m sure you think that fight you had with them last Tuesday is surely the reason why they feel the way that they do. I guarantee on every level that they aren’t even still thinking about that Tuesday night fight. Depression can often come from many sources and can come from experiences years and years ago.. no matter how many little arguments you get into, they know that that’s apart of a relationship.. couples get into little fights and people with depression know that just as well as anyone else. Blaming yourself will only make them feel bad that they are making you think that way and in some cases that can lead to them keeping their feelings away from you just so you don’t feel like you’re the reason for their problems anymore. You’re not the reason and if you continue loving them through every stepping stone that depression has, you will never be the reason.
Relationships are about being honest with each other and how you are feeling. If you are having a terrible day or even week, pour out your heart. Just because they are going through a rough time with a name does not mean that they don’t want to know what you’re struggling with and just because they have depression does not mean they can’t give you advice or try to help. Don’t feel bad about “stealing their spotlight” because it’s guaranteed that most of the time they don’t even want to be in that hot, glaring light. Maybe it’ll take the pressure off of them for a little while and give them relief. They can finally give back that support you’ve been giving them for so long.
3. Crush those eggshells.
Walking on eggshells is defined as “you are being very careful not to offend someone or do anything wrong.” People will depression aren’t stupid, at all. They will most definitely know when you are trying to avoid a certain situation or conversation just to spare their feelings. Of course if they’re sitting in your arms crying, don’t bring up the fact that they ditched you last night.. that should go for anyone really. But don’t feel like you are not able to speak your mind just because they are feeling the way they are. Treating them as normally as possible, makes them feel as normal as possible. Forget the eggshells are even there.
If depression could just vanish with the snap of a finger, believe me there would be a lot more snapping fingers. It takes so much energy out of you, so much that you barely have enough to do what it takes to overcome this crazy annoying illness. It takes a long, long process to beat depression and sometimes, in the worst case scenario, depression even wins. No one wants depression. No one volunteers as tribute and definitely no one chooses to live the life and have the mind of a depressed human being. It’s something that you don’t even want to wish upon your worst enemy and the most frustrating part of it is that it won’t go away anytime soon, it won’t pack up and leave when you’re ready for it to leave, and that’s beyond frustrating and what’s almost just as frustrating is that the feeling is so hard to explain. They can’t tell you why they feel the way they do and I’m sure that’s frustrating for you, too. It feels as if that you do so much to try and make them feel better but nothing ever works but just know that it’s okay to be frustrated but also know that we’re frustrated too.
Like mentioned in number 4, overcoming this long obstacle course is a process. There are many steps to beat depression and the first step is taken only when they are ready. Starting the process unready is pointless and will not end up helping them in the long run. You need to know that it doesn’t happen over night. The process could last 20 years if it really wanted to.. but just be patient. They want it to be gone just as much as you do and they wish it happened fast just like you do. Let them know that you’re there for them through every step of the way.
6. They appreciate you.. even if they don’t show it.
It’s not easy loving someone with depression and it’s really not easy loving while depressed. If you’ve been there to hold them when they’re crying, wipe their tears away and tell them constantly that everything will be alright.. they appreciate and love everything you try to do for them. As much as they know you don’t understand what’s going on inside their head, they know that you’re trying to do whatever it takes to even make them feel a little better. It’s hard, and it’s even more hard dealing with it alone. Even if they do not think everything will be alright, something about hearing it from someone that they love is comforting. They may not tell you, and they may not show you.. but they appreciate every single little thing you do for them.
Depression doesn’t take over the heart. Just because they’re overwhelmingly sad does not mean they don’t like to be comforted and told that you love them over and over again. Knowing and hearing that someone cares for them through their crazy twists and turns makes the sun peak through the clouds even if it’s just for a second. Let them know you’re not going anywhere. They will have that doubt and wonder why anyone would want to be with them when they have all of that baggage riding on their back but lend them a hand with all of those bags and let them know that they’re not getting out of it that easy!
You’ll hear it and you will hear it over and over and over again. “I just want to be alone right now.” and while some do need a self vacation break once in awhile, do not give them a permanent vacay. As much as people with depression don’t want to admit it, being always alone is not a good thing for them at all. If you think they’ve had enough alone time, go over and give them a big squeeze and take them out for ice cream, getting out of the house can create a mental break from all of the negative thoughts going on inside their head. Give them something else to think about instead of looking at the wall. They’ll be mad at you in the moment because they feel as if you’re over crowding them but eventually they’ll understand why you were there for them a little.. too much.
self harm mostly known as “cutting” has been proven to not be a sign of suicidal behavior. Many people who cut themselves are doing it to ease the emotional pain that they are feeling. While this obviously is not the best coping method and there are far more effective and healthier ways to get the pain to slow down, cutting happens and actually happens a lot. It may not be an easy subject to have a conversation about but if you do end up mentioning it do not jump to conclusions right away and act as if they are trying to end their life. Not many people cut their wrists in hopes of committing suicide. While you should always keep an eye on suicidal actions, thinking that their self harming just to commit suicide may cause tension. Tell someone if you are concerned but just know that it is a type of coping method that no one who doesn’t do it will understand.
10. Everything WILL be okay.
I know, that’s the phrase you find yourself telling them over and over again. Everything will be okay. But that’s for you too. Whether or not things end up the way you think they will, everything will be okay. Hopefully over time you learn more and more about depression and how to deal with it second hand. But one of my favorite quotes in the world is “Everything will be okay in the end, if it’s not okay.. it’s not the end.” just remember to always stay calm throughout this process. It’s a long one for them but they know that it’s a long one for you too.
The most important thing through all of these ten things is just to remember to love them. Simply love them with everything you have. Love and positivity is what they need and if you give everything you have, everything will be okay. Patience is key but remember, happiness is key.