Five Tips for Strengthening Relationships During Bouts of Depression


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Depression is a mental illness that can affect people of all ages. Sometimes, depression occurs whenever a person experiences an event that negatively affects their mood, such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job. But most cases of depression are caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, due to disruptions in the amounts of serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine that are produced. Because the symptoms that occur with this mental health issue can often put a strain on a person’s relationship with their partner, it helps to try the following five tips to keep love going strong:

1. Keep Talking

Proper communication may become more difficult whenever a person has depression because they may often feel hopeless and tired. However, it is important that both people try to talk about how they feel each day in order to remain emotionally connected. The conversations don’t have to be very long, but they do need to be honest. Talking openly about the impact of depression can also help both partners be supportive of one another’s needs.

2. Seek Your Own Support 

Whenever a person has a partner who is struggling with depression, they may need to take over a large portion of the day-to-day responsibilities, like caring for the children, paying bills, and keeping the house clean. After a while, this may lead to feelings of anger and resentment. Perhaps there are ways that your partner is able to contribute or express appreciation. It can also be important to ask for help, whether from family members, friends, or other outside support systems and resources.  

3. Take Care of Yourself

It is important to practice your own self-care in order to reduce the emotional and physical impact of any stress you may be experiencing while supporting your partner with depression.  Meaningful self-care often means connecting to your community, as well as keeping up with your own therapy and medical appointments. Taking care of your nutrition, physical activity, and sleep is also critical.  Other self-care activities such as spending time doing enjoyable and meaningful activities are also important.  

4. Remove Blame from the Equation

Depression can certainly complicate and take their toll on relationships.  It can be helpful to remember that depression is a medical issue that requires treatment; it is not due to a lack of willpower or anyone’s fault. Looking at the situation from this judgment-free perspective can help minimize any feelings of guilt or pressure on both sides.   

5. Focus on the Solution Instead of the Illness

It may seem as if a person’s depression is going to last forever, but treatment is available and works. You can support your partner in seeking help, perhaps by helping them identify a psychiatrist or therapist, helping to set up the first appointment, or even driving them to the appointment. These steps can be challenging when someone is struggling with symptoms of depression; supporting your partner in these ways can go a long way as they navigate beginning treatment.  

These are just five of the ways that people can strengthen their relationship during bouts of depression. If you have a loved one who needs treatment for depression or another mental illness, the Mental Health Collective in Orange County is here to help.  Please give us a call at 888.717.9355 or click the button below for more resources.

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