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Caring for a Partner with Depression

Living with someone you love who has depression is not an easy undertaking.  You will need to be prepared to be supportive and compassionate and caring even though you may be thinking that your loved one is an adult who should be caring for him or herself.  Depression is a disease.  There is no getting around that.  And while it is definitely difficult for the sufferer, it is also difficult for the people who have to live with the sufferer and who love him or her.  In a typical relationship, there would be some give and take, some caring that goes both ways.  Ideally, you and your partner would be able to share the load of living, but depression does not allow for that.  Depression takes away the energy that one partner has and makes him or her incapable of dealing with the normal tasks of living.

What You Can Do To Care For A Partner With Depression

There are quite a few things that you can do to help your partner and help yourself cope with depression.  One of the first things that you should do is get yourself a depression education.  If you have little experience with this disease, read up or talk to people who know.  Get to recognize the signs of worsening depression.  You are only going to be really helpful in a meaningful way if you understand what is going on.

You should encourage your partner to get treatment.  There are treatments available that really work.  While your loved one may be susceptible to continued bouts of depression once treatment is completed, he or she will be better equipped to handle anything that comes along after getting the appropriate help.

Keep in mind that depression can be a big deal.  Do not take it for granted that your partner will get over it on his or her own.  It can be very frustrating for you to have a partner who is not your partner.  He or she will say or do hurtful things, but you have to remember that depression is a disease just like any other.  There is little chance that your loved one is just going to snap out of it without the proper assistance and the support that only you can give.

While you can be there to help your partner, you should not be doing everything for him or her.  Picking up some extra chores around the house to lighten the load is acceptable, but there is no reason for you to be living your partner’s life for him or her.  On the other hand, when it comes to treatment, you may need to take on more responsibility.  People who suffer from depression often do not have the energy needed to make treatment decisions or do the appropriate research.  You can help by doing the research, narrowing the options, and presenting them to your loved one.  For example, you started looking for treatment options for your partner.  You could find several small support groups.  Narrow the options down to two that are the closest to your home.  Present these options to your partner and offer to help him or her get to one.

Facilitating treatment is one of the best things that you can do for your loved one.  He or she wants to feel better just as much as you want him or her to feel better.  A depressed person is likely to feel apathetic and hopeless which means that he or she may give up on treatment before the real work begins.  But you can be there to help him or her follow through with a treatment plan so that you can all get the help that you need.

Don’t Forget To Take Care Of Your Own Well Being

During all of this care for your partner, it can be easy to forget to take care of yourself.  If you let your own needs go for too long, you are going to be of no use to your partner or any of your other family members.  Letting yourself get too overworked or too stressed out can mean that you are not being the best caregiver that you can be.  Take some time for yourself now and again.  If your partner needs to be taken care of by someone else for a weekend so that you can get away, call in a friend or a relative to help.  If you need to spend some time with your kids and not think about depression, do.  Your well-being is just as important as your partners.  Taking some time for self-care can make you into a better caregiver and a better partner.

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