Supporting Your Partner with Depression
Roughly 1 in 8 men experience depression at some point in their life. Depression can be onset by major life changes such as losing a job, relocating, divorce, the loss of a loved one, identity issues, or may also be caused by chemical imbalances (meaning there’s no clear event that has initiated the depression). Ladies, if you are like me, you enjoy being able to help the people in your life. We have helper-hearts, and I truly believe that is part of the beauty of being a woman. I know men get this rap of being “fixers”, but we are pretty similar in that regard; our mode of fixing tends to lean more toward a bid for control.
How can you help your partner work through depression? Here are three basic, yet effective ways to do so.
1. Ensure basic needs are met.
One of the first areas of care that fall by the wayside when depressed is the most basic of needs-eating, sleeping, and hygiene. Imagine depression is like having a cold or flu, how would you take care of your partner during that time? You’d make sure they’re eating, give meds (in this case, vitamins), and have them rest. Has your partner been sleeping excessively? How about the two of you implement a routine together that establishes accountability and helps with going through the motions of accomplishing tasks.
2. Find ways to be supportive.
Listen to what your partner has to say, this may be difficult for you to hear how they are struggling and may be experiencing hopelessness. Offer to help with chores or tasks. Replace frustration with patience. If he is open to therapy then provide him with options-this may also mean calling therapists on his behalf. Overall, simply ask what your partner needs or how they would like your help.
3. Embrace the loss of control.
Let’s face it, you cannot fix your partner’s depression; there’s no magic wand to make it all better and it is a journey of healing not a destination. Take care of yourself and work on understanding what this looks like for you and him. Something that has helped my client’s partners is to accept the lack of control and to find ways that you CAN help.
Depression is ugly and it is genuinely so hard to see someone you love struggling with it. At Mind Works Counseling services in Lubbock, TX, we specialize in helping individuals with depression and can also provide counseling for their partners as well.
Learn more about the Depression Therapy services we offer.
Contact us to schedule an appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.