Being in any relationship can pose some challenges, but these difficulties can be made even worse if your partner is depressed. Depression, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, often occurs with anxiety, and together these conditions can lead to problems seeking, securing and maintaining employment. If your partner is already employed, depression can lead to negative perceptions that cause him to see his work as unsatisfying. Hating work can make your partner's depressed mood worse if it causes him to have problems with attendance or productivity. This can affect both you and your partner financially as well as emotionally.
Avoid efforts to "fix" the problem yourself. Depression is, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, likely caused by heredity, biology, environment and psychological factors. These don't emanate from you. Attempting to fix whatever you or your partner perceive to be broken can lead you down the same path of depression and negative patterns of thinking.
Encourage your partner to seek professional help for her depression. Although depression is a commonly experienced condition, many individuals do not seek treatment. In some cases, the individual experiencing the symptoms doesn't have the time, energy or insight to identify what is wrong. However, you may be able to point out what you are seeing in terms of her behavior. These behaviors can include expressions of disgust or hatred for a job that she might have previously enjoyed.
Determine and communicate your limits in the relationship. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, the partner of an individual with depression has to be clear about what is the deal breaker that will end the relationship. Each partner has to determine what defines this point, but one example would be your mate's unwillingness to seek help for depression. Don't work harder than your partner to resolve the problem because you'll become consumed by it. If you're recognizing symptoms of depression or anxiety in yourself, it's often because your partner's problems have become an epidemic within the household.
Reach out to your social supports. Depression's effects reach far beyond the individual with the condition, and this can lead to self-imposed isolation for both you and your partner. It's vital for your psychological well-being to have supports outside of the relationship. These supports, which can be friends, family members, co-workers or a support group for partners of individuals with depression, can provide emotional and psychological encouragement. You may be able to talk frankly to them about your partner's condition and gain the support you need.
- National Institute of Mental Health: Depression
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America: Spouse or Partner
- Valley Mental Health: Is Your Partner Depressed?
- University of Massachusetts - Amherst: Living With a Depressed Partner
- National Institute of Mental Health: Women and Depression: Discovering Hope
- If your partner tends to turn to attacking you because his depression leads him to lash out, remove yourself from the situation. Despite your partner's challenges, you aren't required to be the target for his outward expression of frustration and anger.
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