MY PARTNER IS DEALING WITH DEPRESSION – WHAT SHOULD I DO?
Let me put you in an imaginary situation. I want you to imagine that everything I’m going to say now is your reality, I want you to immerse yourself in this situation.
So, a couple of months ago you met this guy that stole your heart, and here you are, months later, in a great relationship and you’re super happy. He gives you a level of comfort and connection you’ve never felt with anyone else, you both are in sync with each other. Your relationship unfolds naturally and there’s nothing that can go wrong, right?
So here you are, you two, being silly and lazy on the couch, watching Netflix and chilling. You’re just saying something nice to your boy, but for some reason he doesn’t get it as a nice thing and in a moment you find yourself trying to explain that you actually meant to compliment him.
‘He just had a bad day and probably he’s tired’, you mumble to yourself and stop thinking about it.
A week later the same story happens again. ‘Strange’, you say to yourself and but don’t pay too much attention.
At some point, you start feeling like dating is a chore for him, it feels like this is just another thing he has to do. Some time later there’s another strange feeling that you notice – it seems like there is a third person in your relationship. Seems like there’s this third person who is giving his very best to come between the two of you.
Last night you said something unimportant but that irritated him so much it’s unbelievable. But thinking of that, recently he pretty often flies off the handle.
Can you relate to this situation? Is that something you’ve experienced with your date?
Now you’re surely wondering where I’m going with all this. The thing is – these are common characteristics of depression. And if you recognized all of them, and you even have a few other examples of your date’s odd behavior up your sleeve, you need to know how to deal with that.
Don’t judge, don’t crack comments like ‘But.. but you don’t look depressed! You don’t look sad!’. Be sensitive, show him that you understand what he’s going through and it’s okay to speak up about his feelings.
Now you might be wondering why your boyfriend is often interpreting your words in a negative way.
The reason for this is that depression creates many negative filters, so by the time my compliment reached my boyfriend, his negative filters had transformed it into an insult.
That’s how he usually responded to my attempts of positive support.
So my advice when this happens is – pick your words carefully. Even if it’s super obvious, tell your boyfriend what you mean and explain to him exactly why what you’re saying to him is positive. If he still gets irritated and attacks, you don’t attack back! Attacking back is just worsening his depression, and you gotta trust me on that.. Just stay calm and don’t lose your temper.
And that takes me to my next point about irritation. We women are different from men in our depression.
Men often just hide their depression, you to them that’s a weakness. So irritation is a good thing actually, because it’s a symptom that shows you your boyfriend’s having depression.
Watch out if he’s too tired as well. Fatigue also speaks for depression.
Remember when I said there might be the feeling that there’s a third person in your relationship? That’s a super clear signal that your date is having hard times on a mental level.
But remember – depression feels like the third person between the two of you, but this is not the core of who your boyfriend is! He doesn’t want this person too, and he wants to be free of him as much as you do.
Be patient and really show you're understanding him and his struggle.
Remember, your boyfriend does not want to be in this condition, depression is not your boy! - and telling him he’s just imagining stuff and it’s all his fault is the worst you can do.
‘I’m having my problems too, it’s not just you, snap out of it’ is another no go. This is just shaming him for how he’s feeling. Don’t dismiss his pain and blame him for anything.
I’m curious to hear your stories and whether you’re currently dealing with a partner with depression – talk to me on Instagram! And feel free to tag me @bernadetteballa if you want to request a topic to speak about.
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