How To Deal With A Depressed Girlfriend
In this blog guide, we will find out how to deal with a depressed girlfriend and what not to do when your girlfriend is depressed.
Although you are not dealing with depression, being the partner of someone who is suffering from this condition can be challenging in its way. When you love and care about someone, it makes it hard for you to see them suffer.
Fortunately, there are several ways you can help and make a difference or at least not add to their struggles. Let us see how you can help your depressed girlfriend and what you should avoid doing.
If your friend is going through a tough time with clinical depression, here are some of the best gifts you can give them:
The Best Thing To Do Seek Help Yourself
If you are in a relationship with someone who has not sought support but chooses to suffer throughanxiety, depression, and the effects of childhood trauma? If, actually, this is not the first time this has happened to you? But you often end up in relationships with people who are intense and exciting or need you?
Then the truth is there is a very high chance you have your own matching psychological issues. This often includescodependency, coupled with low self-esteem. You might even have your own childhood trauma to process.
Seeking help yourself not only helps you divide your own issues from your partners, it also shows them how beneficial therapy is. And one of the best ways to help others is to lead by example.
Harley Therapy manages some of Londons top relationship counsellors and talk therapists in central locations. Not in London or the UK? Our sister site harleytherapy.com means you can book affordable therapy from any location.
Still have a question about how to help a partner with depression or other psychological issues? Post below.
How Anxiety And Depression May Affect Your Relationships
Anyone can be affected by depression and anxiety even children. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America found that generalized anxiety disorder affects 6.8 million people in the United States, with the number being much higher across the world.
It is difficult to live with depression. The symptoms can affect your mental health, generate sadness and suicidal thoughts, and can even have a physical impact on your life. Depression and anxiety raise stress, decrease energy, cause weight to fluctuate, contribute to insomnia and the list goes on.
Living this way is hard enough on your own, but depression and anxiety can also have a negative impact on your marriage.
Here are 6 ways your mental health can affect your romantic relationships and how marriage therapy can help.
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Serious Concerns To Keep An Eye Out For
If your girlfriend is dealing with depression, you may need to be on the lookout for more extreme concerns, like suicide risk. Understand the warning signs to ensure your alarm bells start ringing if the following occur:
- Obsession or regular conversation about death
- Verbalizing wanting to commit suicide
- Developing a specific suicide plan
- Using phrases that indicate she would like to end her life or that others would be better off without her
- Suddenly transitioning from depression to peace and happiness without explanation
Your Sex Life Suffers
Your intimate connection with your spouse is very important to the success of your marriage.
Being intimate is what connects you, body, mind, and soul. Studies show that couples who have an active, healthy sex life release oxytocin in their bodies. This magical hormone is responsible for bonding, boosting trust, and reducing stress. Oxytocin also contributes to emotional intimacy between partners.
Unfortunately, research shows that depression can have a significant impact on a persons relationships, quality of life, and mental health. It can also impact ones sex life.
Depression has been proven to lower libido, decrease sexual excitement, delay or diminish the ability to orgasm, and create problems with erections.
When your sex life suffers, so does the rest of your relationship.
Couples may not be as close, loving, or trusting of one another. It may also leave one partner feeling unimportant and may tempt a person to stray from the marriage.
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How To Support Your Partner
Theres a difference between providing support and becoming your partners unpaid, unofficial therapist. A therapist isnt going to hold your partner while they cry or take them out for something to help relieve the anxiety.
These activities make him feel loved and secure, and that helps with his anxiety, she said.
Her story shows it is possible to have a loving and long-term relationship when dating someone with anxiety. Here are some other ways you can support your partner:
Show Her You Want To Be There For Her
Being there for her without any pressure or prompt communicates volumes. Although she may not tell you, she could feel guilty and like a burden on you. Show her you are there for her because you want to choose to be there for her. Small gestures go a long way cook her favorite food, organize a movie night for the two of you, or just hold her hand.
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Your Depressed Girlfriend Isnt Withholding Affection From You Because She Doesnt Want To Give Shes Most Likely Withholding Because There Isnt Anything To Give
The reality is that depressed people in the middle of an episode generally arent super fun to hang out with. They arent very affectionate. They dont empathize well. They may catastrophize and have severe and negative opinions about everything.
Often self-care is incredibly difficult, so wearing a clean shirt or showering might be a real triumph.
Im not being casual or exaggerating here. Thats the reality of coping with clinical depression in a relationship.
Since affection comes from the feeling center of a person that depression takes offline, youre wishing for something that she cant do right now.
Thats why being upset by what your depressed girlfriend CANT do is only going to cause problems between you.
If you want this relationship, this is what it costs right now. You can accept that or you can leave her.
Just Feel Sad With Her
Just feel sad with her. Depressed people are told constantly that its all in their head and their problems are all imagined and not really serious. It would probably be really nice to have one person take her seriously. Instead of telling her that all her problems are minor and can be easily solved, just acknowledge them and empathize with her.avanross
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Familiarize Yourself With Your Depressed Girlfriends Actual Capabilities Right Now
There is a huge difference between meanness, abuse and shitty behavior and things depressed people have a hard time doing.
It might seem like healthy boundaries should extend to normal relationship behavior.
This is because, when everyone is healthy, having your loved one withdraw their affection feels like a very personal rejection of you. Since nothing unusual is going on with them, withdrawal of affection is often a sign of a problem with the relationship.
However, when your depressed girlfriend pulls away from you, it can be the illness OR it could be you.
The difference can be a really fine line, so I want to talk about that.
If youre disappointed that your depressed girlfriend isnt emotionally available as often, isnt affectionate, doesnt want sex, has withdrawn and has a hard time making or keeping plans, sure, I can understand wanting to sit her down and ask about this.
Now, like I mentioned since you have most likely crossed over into cant rather than wont territory trying negotiate with her for more or better time, sex, love or affection will go very badly since she doesnt have these things to give you.
Just as continually trying to train a cat to bark will leave you scratched up and frustrated, so will trying to get more genuine caring and affection from a depressed person.
They are already trying as hard as they can and are well aware theyre coming up short.
Assist Them In Finding Help
Studies done to help uncover how to help someone with anxiety and depression show psychotherapy applied alone or together with pharmacology, can be helpful in symptom management. Therapists learn how to treat people with anxiety, and they can provide the help you cant and shouldnt .
If your partner is not attending therapy, assist them in finding adequate help. Also, consider having separate sessions to learn how to handle people with anxiety better and take care of yourself in the process. Therapy can make the process of learning how to help your partner with anxiety much easier on both of you.
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Never Forget That We Love You
Sometimes anxiety can evolve into rage or depression. Its a shape-shifter it takes on a lot of different forms. But in the midst of a bad episode or a difficult time, do not forget that we love you, we care about you, and we appreciate you more than you know. We appreciate you for standing by us when we are at our worst. Our supporters motivate us to keep growing and changing when things seem impossible. And having someone there who genuinely is interested in your well-being and happiness makes the whole managing thing easier. Thank you for everything that you do. We love you.
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Be An Open Minded Listener
One of the greatest gifts you can give to someone who experiences anxiety is a kind, listening ear. Managing an anxiety disorder can be isolating and humiliating.
Having someone who you can talk to honestly about what you are experiencing and your feelings can be really positive and soothing, especially if that person is able to listen without judgment and with empathy.
As a listener, remember that it’s important simply to be there for them, and not to offer suggestions, advice, or try to “solve” or “fix” anything for them.
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Address Your Own Feelings About Your Partners Anxiety
Dating someone with an anxiety disorder can be difficult, and you may find yourself having intense reactions to what is going on with your partner. This is normal and understandable. Taking some moments to practice some self-care and empathy for yourself is vital.
If it feels difficult for you to cope, or if you find yourself reacting in unhelpful ways to your partners anxiety, you might want to consider entering counseling or therapy.
Angrily Screaming At Her While Threatening To End Your Relationship Is Not Going To Help Things Or Wake Her Up
In fact, talk about the specific, exact behaviors which are affecting you and NOT the depression at all unless she brings that up.
Understand in advance that she might not apologize and the talk might not go over well.
Talking about this probably wont feel super for either of you, but if you can be light and well-composed when you choose to confront her, that would be best.
Unfortunately, depressions tendency to cause people to catastrophize might kick in and you might find yourself in a strange, circular talk where you feel forced to reassure her that you arent leaving as she explains why you should.
To get out of there, if you have to, distract her in an order to get her attention off how you deserve better.
Many a depressed person has dumped someone right after they complained they deserve better.
The twisted depression logic works like this:
Well.. I cant do any better. They DO deserve better. And Im clearly hurting them. It would be a mercy if I just left them. Ill do that to spare them.
If you find yourself on the other side of this, youre going to deal with more withdrawal since youre asking a person who CANT right now, to do something they CANT do.
In the past she might have been the most loving, sweet girlfriend imaginable.
The fact that shes not anymore could be because of the clinical depression or because shes genuinely thinking of winding your relationship down.
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Show Her You Love Her
When someone is diagnosed with depression or anxiety, they are also affected by a low sense of self-esteem and self-awareness. You cannot change this for the individual, but you can help by making them feel reassured. Remind your girlfriend of her strengths and let her know you love her as often as you can.
What Do I Do If My Girlfriend Is Pushing Me Away
Here are some of their suggestions for what to do if your girlfriend is pushing you away:
- It depends a lot on why she is pushing you away. Remember that it is not about you but rather her anxiety. Keep calm and try to be there when she wants you. Dont force her to do anything she doesnt want to, and dont try to cheer her up with advice or a pep talk.
- If the reason for pushing you away is that she thinks you will leave her, then reassure her many times that this wont happen. Say it in person, write it on paper, tell her friends, take pictures of you together with her and post it on the internet. If your girlfriend is worried that you might leave her due to something she did, then reassure her that you will be there for her, whatever happens.
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Learn Everything You Can About Your Partners Condition
I cannot emphasize this enough. You will have a difficult time communicating with your partner if you cannot understand what anxiety is or what it feels like. Look up people talking about it, for example. Read everything you can about the condition. And even so, some people end up in counseling themselves to try to understand how to help themselves deal with their partners anxiety. If you make the effort to understand, your partner will appreciate it more than you know.
Dont Leave Them Along
When your loved one is depressed, they may often say one thing but mean another. Distancing, or self-isolating is a common symptom of depression. Distancing is a self-destructing path, where the person pushes others away for one of many reasons.
This can be because they are afraid to hurt those around them, they are afraid of being hurt by others, they feel they arent good enough for others, they are embarrassed of their mental state, or any number of other reasons.
When your partner says they want to be left alone, chances are they dont. This is often times a cry for help.
Be there for them. Assure them that its okay to not be okay, but that you will be there with them through it, to help them pull through. Dont try to make them talk if they dont want to. Dont ask questions, because chances are they wont want to answer them. Bring them food, put on a movie, and just be there.
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