Depression just might be one of the worst things around because it feels like you are sinking no matter how hard you try to swim to the surface. It’s like you’re tied up and gagged and whatever knife you use to slice the boundaries you can’t.
I am what they call a bubbly and effervescent woman, but I have experienced depression in my life. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 14.8 million American adults suffer from major depressive disorder per year. It’s a lot of people.
When you love someone who suffers from depression, your relationship isn’t always easy. Loving someone with depression takes work.
Here’s how people with depression love differently from others.
1. Sometimes a depressed person will withdraw emotionally.
Depression is a delicate beast. Your lover can withdraw from you through no fault on your part in order to come up with rather sad feelings, only to come back to chance. And sometimes it can seem like there is no rhyme or reason to this pattern.
Know this: it is not your fault. Your partner may step back just so you don’t have to deal with their unpleasant feelings and come back when the person feels able to give without pouring a rainy parade over your head.
It’s best to give your depressed partner the opportunity to walk away as long as they can come back without serious intervention.
If your partner pulls out to succumb to a dangerous level of depression, this is when you need to step in. One should only be allowed to wallow for so long before it becomes a huge problem.
2. People who are depressed may not want to as often as they used to.
A depressed lover may need less because he or she has low motivation, or your “blue” partner may be looking for more to fulfill that sad, boring feeling through depression. The first scenario is more common than the second, but many depressed lovers seek therapeutic treatment and will want lots of contact and foreplay.
This is good as long as the person isn’t looking for it outside of the relationship or to avoid dealing with uncomfortable feelings like addiction.
On the other hand, if your depressed partner doesn’t want to, it can be really hard on you. Talk openly about it with your partner and watch out for your downcast lover’s bedroom habits.
3. We can look for a shoulder to cry on that is not yours.
Back in the days when I was feeling down, I had people I went with because I felt comfortable telling them about my lethargic mood. Your lover can decide it’s you … or not.
Don’t be crazy. As long as your partner has someone to confide in so they can get over this change in mood, that’s most important.
It would be nice if that person were you, but maybe it’s better for your other half to unload on someone else – that way you won’t feel like the relationship is more of a storyline. of therapy-patient.
4. People who are depressed can have mood swings.
I have friends and have dated men whose depression seemed to come out of nowhere, like a terrorist mood attack on their brains. Don’t be surprised if your partner is carefree one minute, then the next day, slowly sinking into the fog of depression.
The sudden mood swings between elation and depression could be manic depression, and that’s not what I’m talking about.
A depressed partner may appear to be fine and then start to sink into a sad state. It is essential to do things to keep your partner active and less stressed, but, more importantly, your partner must be able to recognize the impending depression and try to avoid getting stuck in its clutches.
But if someone is seriously depressed, he or she is going to have a very hard time doing so. You will have to be patient if you are to deal with this.
5. We empathize with other people with mental health issues.
Your depressed lover will most likely be an empathetic and kind lover.
Knowing what it’s like to face a mental health issue, your partner has a different outlook on life than Miss Mary Sunshine, which is a good thing as long as the person isn’t emo 24h / 24 and 7 days a week.
6. Depressed people are great listeners.
A depressed lover can be a great listener just because he or she has spent so many hours listening intently to the sad and not so sad voices in their head, struggling with reason.
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Your depressed lover will want to be by your side because he knows how difficult it is for anyone to understand their own dark thoughts.
7. Sometimes a depressed person can be selfish.
On the other hand, your excellent listener / depressed partner can be selfish at times. He or she doesn’t mean to be, but depression has this nasty way of making you feel like it’s just locked in your own world, with your own morbid thoughts.
It’s hard to see someone else’s perspective when you’re trapped in your depressed island world.
No matter how sad or blue your partner is today, once you understand how people with depression love differently, be a supportive partner and see the value of your lover’s life experiences. And there is a good chance that this depression will pass too.
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Laura Lifshitz is a former MTV personality and a graduate of Columbia University. She currently writes on Divorce, Women’s Issues, Fitness, Parenting, Marriage and more for The New York Times, DivorceForce, Women’s Health, Working Mother, Pop Sugar, and more. Check out his From MTV to Mommy website.