Can You Maintain A Healthy Relationship When You're Depressed?
If your outlook towards many things changes when you're depressed, how is your relationship affected? One of the most challenging parts to feeling depression is that people don’t feel as connected as they normally do—with their friends, family, the world in general, and with their partner. This lack of feeling is quite common among suffers of mild to moderate depression. The reason people feel disconnected is because they can't locate the feelings to love themselves and since people can't find this, it's impossible to love others. Individuals often recognize love for others in their mind, but they don't feel it as they normally do. Feeling is vital here. Sadly, the more depressed a person is, the quieter their heart becomes.
It's tough to access and experience feelings when you're depressed, but remember they don't disappear. This can present a problem in a relationship. One day a person is connected to themselves and their partner and the next day they don’t feel connected to anything. Depressed people often misjudge situations and believe that others are acting critical towards them. However what they are actually seeing is a reflection of what they're thinking about themselves.
Relationships experience chaos when the depressed partner doesn't understand what is happening to them and they listen to everything their depressed mind says. They take the debris from their head and wrongly interpret them as feelings, often remaining quiet about it. They may feel hurt by something they think their partner has done, but in reality they didn't do anything at all! It is very important and highly recommended for people suffering from depression to speak with a health professional as well as their partner. Depression can be almost as challenging for the partner as it is for the person who is depressed. When a depressed person has a conversation, it's often illogical and doesn’t make much sense. There is little to be gained by conversing upon issues based on invalid perceptions.
For depressed people, it's best for them to step back and observe their thoughts rather than respond to the junk that their mind is saying to them. By avoiding a trivial conversation based on a misperception, the depressed person can create some level of connection with their partner by accepting their current state of mind. They can take this newly created connection further by showing an alternative form of affection to their partner, such as cuddling.
When you are depressed, there are ways you can respect yourself and show yourself much needed love and kindness without destroying your otherwise healthy relationship. First, listen to your mind carefully and don't believe everything your mind tells you. The depressed mind may urge you to believe negative thoughts that are false, which will perpetuate your feeling of depression if left unchecked. The more that you can decide between irrational fear-based thoughts and your more enlightened, clear mind's rational thoughts, the simpler this becomes. Slow yourself down, take a step back, and focus on what you are thinking during a moment when you feel particularly depressed - What's really going on?
Second, try not to assume. Be on the lookout for negative assumptions that your mind is making, and analyze what's making you angry or upset. Ask yourself, was that really what was said? Are you actually drawing the conclusions yourself? The odds are that you’re just looking into a mirror of your own thoughts. There is a possibility that your mind is telling you something real, but it’ll still be there when your feelings are not so off, and by that time any conversation you do have will be much easier and more productive.
Third, speak and bond with your partner over the big picture. Be honest about the bigger picture of how you’re feeling with your partner. Tell them directly that you think you might be depressed, rather than expressing your criticism of them. If there really is something bothering you, similar to making assumptions that your mind says that really are true, remember that it’ll still be there when your depressed feelings have gone away, and it’ll be a whole lot easier to talk about it at that time.
Fourth, recognize that your mind can be convincing. Very convincing. Your may think that anything that your mind produces is extremely important. Even though it's best to wait, you might still decide to do so because ultimately it’s your decision. You may find yourself in a discussion that you will later regret. Don't panic and don’t worry about it. It is okay.
Last but not least, keep in mind that this too will pass. Even though you can’t feel it right now in this moment, try to hold onto all the calm, peaceful, and loving feelings that exist inside of you.
- Jeff Stein
How to Maintain a Healthy Relationship When You're Depressed. (2012, December 9). Retrieved December 19, 2014, from http://tinybuddha.com/blog/how-to-maintain-a-healthy-relationship-when-youre-depressed/
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