8 ways to love somebody with depression
Living with someone with a mental illness can have you feel helpless. You may feel there is nothing you can do because you are unable to control someone else’s emotions. Here are some things you can do to help your loved one feel better.
- Get them outside: One major symptom of depression is withdrawing from everyone and staying inside and sleeping. Try to get your loved one to go on a walk with you or go grocery shopping. Start inviting them to do errands, this will at least get them moving their body a little and breathing in some fresh air.
- Give them compliments: Everyone needs praise and acknowledgment. If you notice they are doing more than they were, praise them for this! Compliment them even on the smallest things.
- Challenge their negative thoughts: People suffering from depression tend to have many worrisome thoughts. Often these thoughts are actually untrue and unrealistic. Reassure them that things usually work out.
- Give them a hug: Physical touch releases the fee-good hormone endorphins. Your partner may be irritable and more withdrawn but with their consent give them a hug. Every human being needs physical affection. Giving them a hug can make them feel less alone.
- Cook them a healthy meal. When someone is depressed they often don’t have an appetite or they will binge on sugary foods for quick energy. Our diet has a large impact on our mood. If you are cooking and you do have energy, cooking a health meal for your loved one can really make a difference.
- Give them space. There is a certain balance needed between this point and the first one. Remember that this person is going through something and needs time to really think it through. It can be overbearing to have someone always hounding you. Honour that they need their space and time alone but when it makes sense, reach out to them.
- Don’t take it personally. Depressed people are often irritable; they’re not sleeping and not eating. They have no interest in anything and it can be easy to think that this is because something is wrong with you or your relationship. Try to remind yourself that they are struggling and it is probably not you. And don’t forget to take care of yourself!
- Speak with a professional. You may want to suggest that your partner make an appointment with their family doctor to speak about seeing a Psychologist. You may want to offer to attend with them as this nudge may help with have the motivation to go.
In order to change and get help we need to be willing and we need to be ready. In the end your partner will have to do the work to get better and recover. These tips can at least provide support along the way.