Depression is when you don’t control your thoughts, they control you.
When I was fifteen years old I was diagnosed with depression. I had dealt with the death of my grandparents and my best friend, along with years of bullying. After four years, one town, and my high school graduation, I’ve learned how to help my boyfriend love someone with depression.
Depression is a chemical imbalance in the brain causing changes in moods for long periods of time. It’s not your everyday bummed out or sad feeling, it’s your I-haven’t-showered-in-a-week-because-it’s-too-painful-to-get-out-of-bed feeling. Loving someone with depression will take you time to learn what exactly is going on when you find your partner crying in the shower that they’ve been in for two hours.
Having patience is key, because one day it could be a really good day and the next your partner could seem like a fun-sucking black hole. When I have an episode I don’t eat because I’m not hungry, so my boyfriend doesn’t shove food into my mouth to make sure I eat. He sits there and will offer to make me food if I want it. If I don’t and I’m in bed, he will leave a glass of water next to my bedside and will wait.
You don’t have to relate to your partners issues in order to understand what they’re telling you. A lot of times those with depression want you to listen when they feel okay talking. They don’t have the energy to listen to your advice unless they ask for it, they just want you to listen and at least try to understand what’s going through their heads while holding them. No “just go outside, you’ll feel better” comments. Just silence, open ears, and back rubs. My boyfriend when I texted him one night said “I don’t understand what you’re going through, but all I can say is I am here for you and I love you.” I was home alone and having a bad night so instead of sitting there, I was well enough to tell my boyfriend about it and everything that was building up because I know that he understands what to do and how to listen.
If your partner is feeling suicidal, do NOT under ANY circumstances tell them it’s “all in your head.” This will make them feel even worse. If you partner feels like they need anti-depressants, then support their decision and go with them to their appointments if you can. What they need from you more than ever is your care and support. You need to make sure they know you are there to help them get through anything. This is very important and a must. One little thing can overflow their bucket, you just need to be there to help them mop the water up when it’s done overflowing.
And of course,
You need to show them you love them and always will no matter how hard it might be. Through their bad days and their good days, you need to make sure they know you are right by their side to help get them through whatever is going on inside their minds. Make the bad days bearable and the good days better. Make sure they are taking their meds, drinking their water, and taking everything one step at a time. In order to help them help themselves, you need to show them that they always have your love and support. Through thick or thin, you need to be there to support them. You should not just think “oh they’ll get over it” because they won’t. It is chronic and it never just leaves.
Because of these elements that I get from my boyfriend, my days have improved drastically since my depression came to be and I know how to help myself. He’s always there for me and that is really important. He doesn’t have to know what to say or what I’m going through, her just needs to be there and I will feel better. Whenever feel like I am drowning or stuck at the bottom of the abyss, he always has something to pull me out. He really is my rock, and with his love and support he keeps me grounded and makes the gloomy days shorter and the sunny days longer.