Being in a relationship with someone who is battling depression can be a challenge. It is a disease that takes a toll on both parties to varying degrees. You wish you could stop their suffering, wave a magic wand and make them happy or do anything that can relieve their anxiety. However, it takes a great deal of compassion and patience to help see your partner through these difficult times. While not easy, there are a few ways you can bring some joy and peace back into your partner's life. If you are wondering how to help your partner with depression, you'll want to try these suggestions to better understand and help give your partner some relief from this debilitating illness.

Tips to Help Your Partner with Depression


Recognize the symptoms

One of the first steps in helping you partner is to actually know what the signs of depression are. They may try to hide their depression for a long time because they don't want to feel like any more of a burden which only makes their state of mind worse. If you suspect your partner may be depressed, keep an eye open for these signs:

  • Consistent feelings of sadness

  • Feeling extremely fatigued or slowed down

  • No interest in hobbies, friends or sex

  • Change in appetite

  • Sleep troubles

  • Unable to concentrate or make decisions

  • Change in weight

  • Feeling hopeless

  • Suicidal thoughts

  • Digestive problems

  • Aches and pains throughout the body

  • Feeling worthless, guilty or helpless


Create an action plan

There are going to be low days and high days and extremely low days. It is best to sit down with your partner on a good day to help create an action plan together to get through those low and extremely low days. Create a plan that will help them shift into a happier state of mind and remember to use the action plan when necessary.


Give them unconditional love

When it comes to how to help your partner with depression, unconditional love is the best medicine you can give. Love is powerful and it is what your partner needs the most of, especially on really low days. While this may seem difficult on days when they seem to be talking all their frustrations out on you, it is on these particular days that they need extra love. 


Support them

Your partner will try their best to get you to give up on them, it's not them doing it intentionally; it's one of the effects of depression. They don't feel worthy of your love and support which is why it is important to always be there for them and show them that they can count on you. You want to remind them of the support they have because most days they will forget about how much support they really have around them.


Understand their needs

Understanding your partner is going to be vital in helping them through their depression. Knowing what to do to make them feel loved is one thing you will have to learn: do they need more physical contact or more verbal reinforcement? Also, knowing when they need space is key. Your partner may say they need space when they just want you to sit with them. It is best to ask them honestly what their needs are.


Listen intentionally

It is important that your spouse has someone to talk to when they are ready to talk. Listening closely to what they say to you, how they are feeling and what they need from you will be crucial for their recovery. Don't push your partner to talk when they are not ready, but when they do come to you, listen fully to what they say and even let them know you are listening by repeating some of the things they say. Finally, avoid getting defensive at what they have to say otherwise they will never feel comfortable coming to you again.


Be active in their recovery

How to help your partner with depression will involve being more active in the recovery process. This can be different for every couple and most often it is best to just ask your partner what they need from you. Some ways to be more active can include taking on more of the daily chores around the house or with the kids and making sure you partner is taking care of themselves properly.


Encourage them to do what they use to love

It can be hard for someone with depression to remember what it is they actually enjoy doing. It is always a great idea to try and get your partner to partake in activities that they used to love doing. Simply, asking them to take a walk with you or go to the movies can be a huge step forward. While you don't want to push them to take on too much at once, be consistent with asking them to join you in a new activity or something you two used to do all the time together.


Keep conversations optimistic

It can be easy to fall into a negative spiral of thoughts, feelings and more for your partner. While you want to be there and listen to her/him through these troubling times, you also want to do your best to help them be more optimistic. Constantly focus on just the negativity they feel isn't the best way to help them, instead, help them see the good in each day. When they start going on a negative rampage, try to ask them what made them feel so or what made them feel good.


Be patient

It will take a good amount of trial and error to figure out what works best for you and your partner to help recover from depression. Be patient with your partner through the process and remember it is not them; it is the illness. Constantly remember when your spouse was happier and the person she was before the depression took over, and know that she is capable of getting back to the person.


Be affectionate

How to help your partner with depression? Acting more affectionate. This can vary from couple to couple. For some, daily hugs, gently kisses and holding hands are what their partner needs. Other couples find that having sex helps put their partner in a happier state of mind. The key is to ask what your partner needs from you and then give them the affection that will remind them they are loved by you.


Encourage them to seek professional help

If they aren't seeking professional help, it's a good idea to encourage them to do so. Even with all your love and support, you might not be able to talk them through everything that is making them feel the way the feel. You can make an appointment with a therapist for them to talk to and if they would feel more comfortable with you there, stay with them. After speaking to a therapist, you two will have a better idea of where to go next.


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