Mental health can be a constant battle, especially in relationships. I’m lucky that I finally feel comfortable enough to break down my barriers and allow my significant other to see my struggle with depression. Attending therapy with my boyfriend has helped him better understand my depression, and I’ve learned how he can best support me. Here are five ways to support your partner if they live with depression:
1. Let your significant other process their emotions.
If your partner has depression, give them space to express how they feel. You may not understand exactly how they feel or love how they share their emotions, but listening to your significant other shows them that they don’t need to bottle up how they feel.
2. Celebrate your partner’s small victories.
If your partner has depression, remember that their progress in coping with their emotions is a big deal. Celebrate those “small” milestones with your significant other! Even if they seem insignificant to you, your partner will appreciate your support and may feel more willing to keep fighting through their depression.
3. Be patient with your significant other.
Your partner’s depression can be difficult for both you and them, but try to stay as patient with your significant other as you can. Learn to accept that your partner will have hard days, and their progress won’t all happen at once. Showing empathy for your partner even when it’s difficult can help both of you strengthen your relationship.
4. Know what helps your partner cope with their depression.
Your partner probably has certain coping skills that work well for them, and knowing what those are can really help you. Whether your significant other’s coping looks like spending time with you or taking a little bit of space, respect how they cope with their depression. Knowing how your partner deals with their depression can help you understand how to treat them on a day-to-day basis.
5. Have open discussions with your significant other about their depression.
Researching depression is a great way to start to understand your partner, but asking them what they go through also goes a long way. Knowing exactly how your partner’s depression affects them can help both of you cope with it. If your partner is willing to share about their depression, listen — not every person with depression experiences the same symptoms or handles it the same way.
Watching your partner go through depression can be difficult, but knowing how to help them will make your relationship stronger. Listen to your significant other, respect their needs, and understand that depression is different for everyone who has it, and you’ll be an amazing support system for your partner.
Which tip helps you and your significant other? Comment down below!