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My partner has depression – what can I do to help?

They’re constantly irritable and hardly ever want to talk. Your sex life’s a disaster. If your partner has depression, continue reading this

Living with someone with depression can be a difficult (not to mention frustrating) experience. When there’s little (or nothing) you can do to help your loved one feel better, it can be extremely painful. But you should never make the mistake of blaming yourself. Depression is an illness that severely limits a person’s ability to enjoy life, and while you can provide much needed support, there’s nothing you can do to make it go away.

What effect does depression have on a relationship?

If your partner has depression you’ve probably noticed them becoming more and more withdrawn, irritable and uncommunicative. You probably haveless sex than before and when you do, it’s less satisfying. Some people with depression even develop anorgasmia (the inability to achieve orgasm) – something that will invariably effect their partner’s emotional well-being.

It’s hardly surprising therefore, that you feel anxious, maybe even hopeless at times. However, the quicker you come to accept the fact that it’s not up to you to cure them, the quicker you’ll be able to get your head around what’s going on, the more help you’ll actually be to them and the less you’ll suffer emotionally. It’s our sincere desire that the following advice will help in this regard:

  • Try not to get angry (with them or yourself)

No matter how difficult your life gets, you should try not to lose your temper. Your partner’s behaving this way because they’re ill, not because they’re selfish. Remember: it’s the illness not the person. So, instead of placing blame, try to create a peaceful and harmonious living environment – one where they’ll feel loved and supported.

  • Remember that it’s not your fault either

While you can be there for them, there are limits to what you can do to help. You’re not their psychotherapist and there’s no way you can watch over them 24 hours a day. So while it’s natural to worry about them (and it’s good for you to want to get involved in their treatment), you shouldn’t try to play the part of the psychiatrist.

  • Try to improve your sex life

While this may be easier said than done, you should try to find ways to increase your desire to have sex. Some find it helps to shake things up a bit by trying new stuff or playing games. If you think your partner’s medication might be causing their lack of interest in sex, you should talk things through with the doctor as there may be something they can do to help.

  • Make time for you

While your partner’s depression means they may not be able to enjoy things quite as much as before, there’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy life! So, whether it’s getting out the house or meeting up with friends, be sure to make time for the things you love. You can and you should – because your partner’s not the only one who needs taking care of.

Depression, Wellbeing, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Non-pharmacological treatments, Relationships

Author: Purificación Salgado, Journalist

Last Modification: January 15, 2017

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