Here’s how you can help a partner with depression

By Mpho Motsie-Mabuda

Depression is a mental illness and real. It is believed that one-third of the population may suffer from this manageable illness.

According to Statistics South Africa, mid-year stats for 2020, there were 60.14 million people in South Africa.

One-third of the population has or will suffer from mental illness in their lifetime.

But unfortunately, around 75% of them will not receive treatment.

With these numbers, you most likely know of at least one person who suffers from depression.

And you may even sleep next to them. Depression is a common and serious medical illness that has prolonged feelings of sadness.

A lack of interest in activities one used to enjoy is also one of the telltale signs.

Depression is not something you can self-diagnose. It is not easy to diagnose and equally as hard to talk about.

If you suspect that your partner has depression, there are ways you can help provide love and support.

This can be very hard on both of you, it does not mean that your relationship or marriage must suffer.

Here are a few tips on how to love your partner through their depression:

 Understand Depression – Conduct your own research about what depression is.

Find out what are the symptoms, risks, and treatment options so you can separate the myths from the truths.

Keep in mind that you are not doing this to diagnose them, but to help you better understand what they could be going through.

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 Be Open and Communicative – a depressed person gets a lot of negative thoughts and trying to reassure them won’t help.

As a partner, you can’t just talk them out of depression. Also, speak honestly and openly with them in a loving way.

Discuss the signs you have noticed and the first steps on getting them the required help together.

 Know when to get emergency help – When your loved one has a physical emergency we know that we will call for an ambulance.

Mental health needs to be treated the same way as it can be just as dangerous. Have all the necessary numbers ready.

 Seek relationship coaching – In most cases relationship issues work out easier when a couple seeks help from a person outside the relationship.

If you need help in starting the conversation about depression with your partner, seek assistance.

Also, low libido is one of the symptoms of depression so guilt-tripping them into having sex could add to their depression.

Rather seek assistance from a Relationship and Sex Coach to help the both of you build emotional intimacy.

 Set a good example – Depression makes everyday tasks difficult which usually leaves the person not feeling like putting themselves first.

You as the partner must make sure you don’t start losing yourself and stop partaking in your hobbies or regular exercises etc. You don’t want to burn out.

 Always remind them you love them – Depression can be isolating and lonely. You as a partner, you need to constantly remind them of the positive things about your relationship.

That you love them and that life is full of wonderful and beautiful possibilities.

The tips above are just very few tips and just a show you can start supporting your partner this World Mental Awareness Month.

There is a whole lot more you need to do and understand when you are in a relationship with a person who has depression, anxiety, or any other mental health issue.

People with depression can sometimes lash out and say hurtful things, even if they don’t mean them.

You are also human with feelings so it is important to learn ways to deal with these issues and set boundaries.

Do not diagnose your partner! Do not self-diagnose!

Mpho Motsie-Mabuda is a Relationship, Intimacy, and Sex Coach. You can reach her on 063 680 5704

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