Updated: Mar 19, 2022
Being depressed in a relationship: how to find out and help your loved one
Being depressed when in a relationship is one of the most challenging situations any couple can traverse. We tend to believe that if a person is in love and enjoys a healthy relationship, they can’t get depressed or shouldn’t get depressed because if you are in love, you are happy and depressed people are always sad, isn't that right? Well, the truth may differ a bit from this belief, and today, I’ll be addressing this controversial topic.
How is it possible to be in love and be depressed? And even worse, how do you know why you are depressed when you are in a loving relationship? Is there anything your partner can do for you? And how does your depression affect your partner? These are tough questions that torment many patients and their partners. Let’s try to clarify some of these points.
Is it possible to be depressed when in love?
Thanks to popular culture, novels, movies and so on, the general belief is that depression is something that has a lot to do with “being rejected” by love or by the person you love. We’ve seen depression as a profound heartache that falling in love again can magically cure.
And that belief has led many patients to a deep whirlwind of chaos, after repeating insane behaviors or enduring painful humiliations to try and remain by their partners' side. However, depression is not necessarily related to falling in love, and it can be present regardless of whatever happy and healthy couple you are.
Because what is commonly known as depression, far from being related to “only being sad”, is a sickness that is usually present during the patient’s entire life or at least a big part of it. This sickness, mistakenly confused with dejection, tends to look more like emptiness, boredom, and even laziness.
A depressed person, depending on the grade of the case, may not even feel anything at all or they feel empty or hollow and that there’s nothing in this world that can get them moving. And that’s going to happen despite the efforts and love from your partner. Because depression is inside the patient and until they solve the issue causing it, they won’t be able to break away from it. And once again, sometimes it will accompany the patient during their whole life, being only possible to reduce the effects.
Of course, being in love and being loved is excellent support when you are a depressive in a relationship. Real love DOES have an impact!
Someone that can understand your situation and be there for you can make the difference between getting an intense episode where you may hurt yourself and not. But looking at it that way is easier said than done, especially if one or both of the parts are unaware of the depressive condition present.
How do you know you, or your partner, are depressed when in a relationship?
A couples' life is beautiful, but yes, it may also come with several uncomfortable and hard-to-handle situations. In this sense, when engaging a bond with a depressed person, there're some signs you may look at to recognize if an episode is starting:
Your partner seems lazy and wants to sleep or rest more than usual. You can even see them dodging responsibilities or feeling like "you're the only one doing the things".
The person presents constant mood swings - more than usual - and feels regret when they behave repellently yet they still can't seem to avoid it and they seem unable to act to correct things.
They don't pay as much attention as they usually do. Whether it's for doing the house labors, hearing what you have to say or even arguing, they may seem to be indolent in front of the situation.
They don't feel like doing anything, not even the things they enjoy, and seem to have difficulties sustaining their routines.
While these signs may look like common situations that can happen to anyone of us, it's the frequency and intensity of the behavior that will provide clues to you.
At first, it won't even make sense to you and you may feel insecure about why your partner is acting like that. So, if you start seeing this type of conduct and you already know about your partners' depression, pay extra attention so you can help you both get through the situation.
In love with a depressed person: How to help your loved one when they’re depressed in a relationship.
The first thing to consider is that a depression episode can hurt both parties. As I mentioned, you may feel insecure about the causes of your partner’s conduct. However, chances are it has nothing to do with you. So the first step if you want to help your partner when being depressed in a relationship, is not taking it personally.
Depressed people often find it difficult to be empathetic with the others as they are always so hurt and empty that they forget how fragile emotions are.
The second step if you want to help your spouse is being receptive and understanding. The fight your partner is going through probably makes them act in ways they don’t even feel. And knowing that difference is what will mark the success or failure of any relationship with a depressed person.
Emotional content is the best thing you can do to help them get out of the episode. Just being there and making your loved one feel like he/she doesn’t have to 'act up' or make excuses for what they are experiencing, is one of the best helps you can offer them.
Finally, knowing that depression is just an illness, and it has nothing to do with the real feelings your partner has for you. Consider that person may be beating him or herself for being unable to stop being depressed. They are probably as concerned as you are about how their attitude may influence the health of the relationship. But they add the frustration of not being able to control themselves, plus the dissatisfaction and hollowness they feel because of their condition.
In the end, as you can see, being depressed in a relationship is tough for both parties but if you love that person, and that person loves you, then patience, tolerance, and understanding are the key to protecting your love as long as life allows you to.