Loving a person who suffers from depression can be defeating. Seemingly, there are some things one should remember when forced into such a difficult and isolating situation. Per Reddit, here are 15 things you should remember when you love a person who suffers from depression.
User “IchTanze.” “Protect yourself emotionally, you need to care for yourself and make sure you don’t fall down the same path.”
User “Xenu3.” “Don’t be afraid that they’ll kill themselves if you need to leave the relationship. If they are going to kill themselves, they will do it even if you stay.”
User “f3riah.” “Remember that you are not their therapist or psychiatrist. My first boyfriend was depressed to the point of being suicidal at times, and I actually ended up having to drop out of university since constantly talking him down made my own (milder) depression much worse. It was to the point where I couldn’t function at all when he was having a bad day. It’s normal to empathize with your SO when they’re feeling especially depressed, but if you find that your mood mirrors theirs you might need to take a step back for your own sake.”
User “WereCoder.” “1 : ASK THEM – every person is different. Don’t beat around the bush, just blurt it out: ‘How do I help?’”
User “WereCoder.” “2 : Many times, depression can be mitigated by doing happy, healthy, or productive things. The main problem is that depression itself is a barrier to doing those things; it sucks away all motivation and magnifies other barriers to those activities. As a supporting friend, your goal is to remove or diminish those other barriers. Often times, if you can get them moving and motivated, their depression will weaken and, over time, subside.”
User “calliope720.” “I have depression and have dated people with depression. What I can say is that it will be difficult not to get frustrated, eventually, when you can’t ‘fix’ them. You go in thinking you’ll never be that self-interested or stupid, but I’ve seen it happen again and again. It’s not malicious, but after a while you start thinking/saying ‘I’m trying so hard, why isn’t it working? Am I not enough? Are they intentionally rejecting my help? Do we even have any real good times? Are they ever happy? Why aren’t they ever happy?’ because even though you know better, intellectually, you’ve still internalized all those after-school specials where a good hug and a pep talk turn someone’s whole day around.”
User “calliope720.” “Depression is a disorder. It does not listen to reason or to pep talks. You cannot tell depression to schedule itself appropriately. It will strike during good times or bad indiscriminately, and it will not be your fault and not be your loved one’s fault. See it for the difficult obstacle it really is, not a choice they’ve made or something you’ve failed to do. Try to temper your frustration with the knowledge that depression is the enemy, not your loved one. Trust me, from the perspective of someone depressed – they would be right there with you for all the good feelings and experiences if they could. Sometimes there’s just nothing to be done on a bad day but take care of each other and wait it out.”
User “Blackberry3point14.” “No one can help them except for themselves, you owe them nothing, be around them because you want to be around them not because you feel obligated, guilty, or worried. Remember it’s OK to take time for yourself, it can be very draining otherwise.”
User “cuweathenerd.” “You do the same thing you’d do with any person you love fighting a long term illness – stand by their side, love them for the person they are, and be gentle. Maybe that’s the most important one: be gentle, both on the person that is sick and on yourself.“
User “cuweathenerd.” “The world isn’t a very soft place and depression takes that hardness and sharpens it. Warmth and softness are just rare. So when someone is soft in all that hardness, when someone is willing to walk with you and listen and accept you when you’re hurt – that’s something that’s really confusing because it doesn’t fit with how you see the world. And you don’t trust it easily because of that. A lot of times, you try to close it out because feeling loved isn’t something you’re entirely capable of – you don’t feel you deserve that love.”
User “GNSasakiHaise.” “There’s a difference between someone being depressed and being depressing. You’re still a wonderful person who is capable of being everything that you want to be, being depressed doesn’t kill your potential, it kills your ability to see it.
When dating a depressed person, you have to understand that sometimes they’re going to want to do absolutely nothing and they’re going to be very infuriating people. If you choose to accept it, your mission is to keep them active and engaged. There’s nothing worse than wallowing in one’s self all day and then wallowing in the fact that you’ve spent the entire day doing just that.”
User “HowDoesOneS*x.” “Don’t always try to cheer them up or continuously ask what’s wrong. Just because they are down doesn’t mean they want or need your help. Just let them know that your there for them. Weather that’s physically and or emotionally. Understand that sometimes you might have to administer tough love to help them. That might be getting them to take meds or get help or feel better about themselves. Though your mileage will of course vary.”