There are many things that can affect our personal and romantic relationships, and one of the most well-known such concerns is that of depression. Those dealing with depression may see this condition impact their relationships in several different ways – but there are also things that both you and those you’re close to can do to combat this if you’re among these people.
At Sunrise Solutions, we’re happy to offer marriage counseling, couples therapy and many related services to help with relationships in the lives of our patients in the Draper area. We know how difficult conditions like depression can impact not only the person managing them, but also many of their closest relationships. Here are some basics on how this can happen, plus some of the general tips we often provide patients on how to deal with this.
Because we’re often closest to the person we’re in a romantic relationship with, depression can have a particularly large impact on these connections. Here are some examples:
- Many symptoms seem like “pushing away”: One of the chief issues with depression is that it can lead to feelings like lethargy, sadness, or even anger – all of which can seem like the person is pushing away from their partner. This isn’t intentional, though, and can be a sign of needing help instead.
- Communication difficulties: For those managing depression, communication with any romantic partner may become difficult for any number of reasons. This can make it hard to keep the lines of communication open, which is essential for any healthy relationship.
- Reduced activity: Those dealing with depression may have reduced energy levels and desire to do activities they used to enjoy with their partner. Again, this isn’t intentional, but can make it difficult to sustain a connection over time.
- Uncertainty or lack of understanding: Because depression isn’t always easy to recognize, family or friends may not understand why it’s happening. This can lead to estrangement from the person dealing with depression and make it hard for them to get the help they need.
- Lessening sexual interest: Due to the fatigue and negative self-image depression can generate, those with it may have little desire or even an aversion to sex. This can strain relationships that are often already dealing with other forms of difficulty.
Depression can also impact non-romantic relationships – with friends, family members and even colleagues. This can come in several forms, from interpersonal tension to more serious issues. Some of them will be relatively similar to those we went over above – for instance, difficulty in communication or reduced interest in social activities.
But there are also other concerns that can arise, such as guilt and anger felt by the person suffering from depression. This may lead to irrational thoughts or behaviors that can come across as hostile, making it hard for those closest to them to remain supportive.
Dealing with Depression in Relationships
When it comes to helping those dealing with depression manage their relationships, there are several robust tactics to consider:
- Greater understanding: With any relationship, understanding – both of one’s self and those around them – is essential. In the case of depression, this means learning more about the condition itself and how it affects people in their lives. For romantic relationships, those dealing with depression may benefit greatly from simply helping their partner understand what’s happening.
- Open communication: In any relationship, open communication is essential to dealing with difficulties that arise. This means ensuring both parties are comfortable enough to talk openly and honestly about their experiences and emotions. It’s especially important in the case of depression as it can be a very sensitive topic.
- Acknowledge loneliness: Though it may not be easy, it can also help to simply acknowledge that loneliness and sadness are natural components of depression. Doing so – either in a romantic relationship or with family and friends – can go a long way in creating an atmosphere of understanding.
- Ask for what you need: You may feel as though you’re being a burden, but asking for help or support when needed is a sign of strength, not weakness. This may be especially true in the case of those dealing with depression and their partners – so don’t feel ashamed to reach out if you need to.
- Seek professional help: When it’s necessary, there’s nothing wrong with seeking professional help – this could mean visiting a therapist, counselor, doctor or any other qualified professional. This can be helpful in both understanding the condition and exploring ways to make things easier for everyone involved.
By taking these steps – and those that we’ve discussed previously – it’s possible to help those dealing with depression manage their relationships more effectively.
And at Sunrise Solutions, we understand the unique difficulties surrounding depression and its impact on relationships for patients in Draper. We specialize in providing quality counseling and mental health support, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you ever need help.