Being depressed in a relationship is one of the most challenging situations any couple can traverse.
We tend to believe that depression and relationships don’t belong in the same category. Many believe that if a person is in love and enjoys a healthy relationship, they can’t or shouldn’t get depressed.
Surely, if you’re in love, you’re happy, right? And depressed people are always sad, right?
Well, the truth may differ a bit from this belief.
The topic of depression and relationships is kind of controversial, but you can learn how to cope.
First things first, how is it possible to be in love and be depressed? And even worse, how do you know why you’re depressed when you’re in a loving relationship?
Is there anything your partner can do for you? And how does your depression affect your partner?
These are tough questions that torment many of my patients and their partners.
Is it possible to be depressed when in love?
Thanks to popular culture, novels, and movies, the general belief is that depression is something that has a lot to do with “being rejected” by love or by the person you love.
We’ve seen depression as a profound heartache that can magically be cured through falling in love again.
And that belief has led many people into a deep whirlwind of chaos after repeating insane behaviors or enduring painful humiliations to try and remain by their partner’s side.
Depression is a disease that is unrelated to falling in love.
Depression can be present, regardless of if you are half of a happy and healthy couple.
What is commonly known as depression — which is far from being related to only “being sad” — is a sickness that’s usually present during the patient’s entire life or, at least, a big part of it.
This sickness, mistakenly confused with dejection, tends to look more like emptiness, boredom, and even laziness.
Depending on the grade of the case, a depressed person may not even feel anything at all. Or they feel empty or hollow, that there’s nothing in this world that can get them moving.
And that’s going to happen despite the efforts and love from your partner, because depression is inside the patient.
Until one solves the issue causing depression, they won’t be able to break away from it. And once again, sometimes it will accompany the patient during their whole life.
Relationships provide support for depression.
Of course, being in love and being loved is excellent support when you’re depressed in a relationship. Real love does have an impact!
Someone who can understand your situation and be there for you can make the difference between getting an intense episode where you may hurt yourself and choosing not to self-harm.
But looking at it that way is easier said than done, especially if one or both of the parts are unaware of the depressive condition present.
How do you know if you or your partner is depressed?
A couple’s life is beautiful, but it may also come with several uncomfortable and hard-to-handle situations.
When engaging a bond with a depressed person, there are some signs you may need to recognize if an episode is starting.
Your partner seems lazy and wants to sleep or rest more than usual. You can even see them dodging responsibilities. You feel like you’re the only one doing things.
The depressed person presents constant mood swings — more than usual — and feels regret when they behave repellently. Yet, they still can’t seem to avoid it and they seem unable to act to correct things.
They don’t pay as much attention as they usually do. Whether it’s for doing the house labors, hearing what you have to say, or even arguing, they may seem to be indolent in front of the situation.
They don’t feel like doing anything — not even the things they enjoy — and seem to have difficulties sustaining their routines.
While these signs may look like common situations that can happen to anyone, it’s the frequency and intensity of the behavior that provide clues.
At first, it won’t make sense to you and you may feel insecure about why your partner is acting like that.
But if you start seeing this type of conduct and you already know about your partner’s depression, pay extra attention so you can help you both get through the situation.
Are you in love with a depressed person?
A depression episode can hurt both parties. You may feel insecure about the causes of your partner’s conduct. However, chances are it has nothing to do with you.
So, if you want to help, the first step to help your partner is to not take it personally.
Depressed people often find it difficult to be empathetic with others, as they’re so hurt and empty that they forget how fragile emotions are.
The second step is being receptive and understanding.
The fight your partner is going through probably makes them act in ways they don’t even feel. And knowing that difference is what marks the success or failure of any relationship with a depressed person.
Emotional content is the best thing you can do to help them get out of the episode.
Just being there and making your loved one feel like they don’t have to “act up” or make excuses for what they are experiencing is one of the best ways to help.
Depression is an illness and it has nothing to do with your partner’s real feelings towards you or your relationship.
Consider that person may be beating themselves up for being unable to stop being depressed. They’re probably as concerned as you are about how their attitude may influence the health of the relationship.
But there’s the added frustration of not being able to control themselves, along with the dissatisfaction and hollowness they feel because of their condition.
In the end, being depressed in a relationship is tough for both parties.
But if you love that person and that person loves you, then patience, tolerance, and understanding are the key to protecting your love as long as life allows you to.
Agata Dominika is a relationship counselor. She works with many couples and single people who struggle to find happiness in love. For more information, visit her website.
This article was originally published at Agata Dominika. Reprinted with permission from the author.