Depression in a Relationship

Relationships face many barriers those we see and those that are hidden.  The relationship can struggle as a whole or the people in the relationship can suffer separately which may cause a relationship to deteriorate and ultimately end. Depression is one of those barriers that can sometimes end the strongest relationship and it is not because the fight to save the relationship was not there it is because it became too exhausting for both people in the relationship.

Depression comes in many actions and behaviors and if what you are experiencing is not communicated to your partner they may see your suffering as something negative and not what they want in a relationship.

Think about the person who sleeps often, never smiles, never sees the good in anything, the workaholic, not affectionate, the extremely sensitive person, the person who only sees your words as attacks on their character, the person who drinks to function in chaotic situations, the loner who never wants to socialize or do things that require interactions with others, the abuser, and unfortunately this list can go on. A person can become depressed for a day, a week, months, and years. Their depression can be mild and they can function without others knowing they are suffering, it can be off and on, or it can be severe which may cause hospitalization. It is a bruised mind and well being and it can fester or it can be nurtured.

Now think about the partner on the other end of that relationship. What do you think they are feeling? They are trying to build a successful relationship with someone who is suffering internally but they don’t know how to help the one they love, they don’t know how to pull them out of what they are feeling, and they don’t know how to fight. What do you think will eventually happen to this relationship? The key thought in all of this is that they love each other and when you love someone and you don’t know how to help them help themselves your love turns into to a chore that becomes exhausting and eventually your exhaustion turns into separation, isolation, and ultimately the end of a partnership. 

We all have a past and sometimes that baggage holds trauma and unfortunately if we have never learned how to deal with that trauma or if we have buried it so far down in our soul that it slowly leaks back into our life in disguise we may not know how to handle what we are feeling. If we can not handle how we are feeling how can we offer what our relationship needs to survive. If we don’t talk about it and pay attention to what we are feeling we self-destruct and lose people in our lives that were apart of our survival.

For the partner who suffers from the depression

  • talk to the one you love. Allow them to know what you are feeling. Not understand, because they will not and build from that. 
  • Seek help for yourself and for your relationship. There is nothing wrong with therapy the strongest relationships can benefit from talking out what you experience in this partnership and help sort out your doubts and insecurities.  
  • Develop habits that may help when you feel yourself falling like meditation, yoga, exercise, music, and other relaxing things include your partner and invite them to bring positivity and encouragement into your space.
  • Don’t hide what you are feeling and try to work through it alone. Depression does not only affect you, but it affects everyone around you especially the ones that love and depend on you.

For the person whose partner suffers from deptression

  • Be supportive
  • Allow your partner to express what they are feeling without feeling your need to solve their problems, because you cannot.
  • Listen without judgment
  • Show your love 
  • Be patient
  • Be encouraging
  • Tune into their love language
  • Don’t try to understand, because it may be the one thing you cannot and when you are trying so hard to understand what they are feeling you develop a resentment or guilt for not being able to and that turns into agitation and eventually a way out.

If you have thoughts on this topic please share.  Depression and how we choose to handle it has become so evident in our society today and to hear someone else’s perspective opens more dialogue for this subject.  We love hard and we want our marriages and love lives to flourish and sustain it all. Let’s educate each other and help build relationships so that love wins over it all.

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