Having a relationship with someone who suffered from depression is very frustrating. Like in most cases, you want to help this person but often they don’t seek help.
So, what should you do?
This is the reason that brought you here. But don’t worry! You’re not alone.
Many people have been in your situation. And although at certain times it seems that there is no solution, you should keep in mind that depression is a mental condition that is rooted in tangible causes that can be addressed and treated.
In this article, we’re going to show you how to proceed, and explain what were the causes that made your girlfriend fall into the pit of this terrible mental condition.
Should I leave my depressed girlfriend?
You should support her during this hurtful time. You must encourage her to seek help and always be with her side when she needs you. These are your responsibilities as her partner.
Having said that, it’s understandable how difficult it is to have a relationship with somebody that has a tendency toward chromic sadness. It can drain your energy and create a negative environment around. In fact, your brain is also affected by the interaction with your girlfriend.
Let’s take a moment and see how depression affect the brain the following educational video:
Though you should support her, it has to have a limit. You can not go through the same rabbit hole and most importantly, don’t let her drag you down.
At the end, it’s up to you to decide if you see how willing she is to seek help. And always remember that, even if you love her so much, and want to help her, you can’t save her unless she wants to.
Is she conscious that she’s going through a self-destructive path?
In some cases people are conscious that they’re harming themselves. But sometimes they are oblivious of the self-destructive path.
These people are often in denial, and when somebody points it out, they might react aggressively.
But when they recognize they have problem, they’re more open to seek help and also accept support from family members.
Here lies the big difference. When you want help, treatments and therapy are at your disposal whenever you require them to make significant change in your life.
The important thing for the depressed person is to get help as soon as she realizes about her self-destructive behavior, but you can also help her make that decision.
How to do it?
Don’t force it on her, but try this:
- Makes sure she sees your concern.
- Stay with her along the worst days.
- Tell her that you love her and want the best for her.
- Call her frequently and let her know that you’re there when she needs you.
- Show her that there are some wonderful things in the world.
- Invite her out to pleasant places where she can feel positive energy.
These strategies above are meant to make her realize that there are valuable things in life that are worth living for. There could be a point by discernment when she understands that she has a problem that needs to be addressed.
Why do some people go through a self-destructive path?
The reasons are different based on the individual’s sole experiences, traumas and psychological mental state.
But there are some recognizable reasons which include:
It’s so painful when someone has experienced pain due to abuse, loss, neglect, and even loneliness.
Many don’t know how to cope with those events. This is the moment when they’re vulnerable to fall into the pit of depression. In some cases, they get trapped without knowing. That’s why they display such self-destructive behavior.
Some people don’t have the strategies to handle emotional pain. We see examples in drug addiction and alcoholism.
Depression is not different. In order to cope with emotional distress, they go through a self destructive path.
People with low self-esteem
This is common between youngsters. We live in an ever-changing society where young people look for validation. They’re desperately to fit in certain groups, to have a sense of belonging.
And when they don’t get it, they’re an easy target for depression. In their own mind, if they’re not accepted by others, they feel they have no value. And depression ends up being a mean of self-punishment.
The lack of support can be seen among couples when one of them doesn’t receive proper attention. This person starts feeling alone.
The same thing also applies in the family circle. People who are ignored by their families feel isolated. They might tend to call their attention at the beginning, but ultimately, down the road they give up.
Sometimes people in a relationship want to please their partner so much that they engage in addicted behaviors.
The desire to meet their peer standard so deep that they don’t know they’re going through a self-destructive path.
As implied, most people are not aware of their self-destructive behavior. But it’s critical that they receive help from a professional.
This help cannot be imposed by others. But the people around should try to make the person realize of his/her problem.
Depression among couples
When one of them suffers from depression is not an individual problem. It involves both partners. The impact on the relationship can be so strong that the number of challenges created can easily weaken them.
One of these challenges is to overcome the emotional separation. Depression retrieve you from the world and from anyone close to you. It makes you a loner sunk in your own suffering.
Let’s see other challenges:
Separation happens in all aspects of the relationship. That includes intimacy. The libido goes down which makes it difficult to engage in sexual activity.
Depression makes you irritable. The relationship with your partner becomes a conflictive nightmare. Fights start and communication is reduced to shouting and seclusion.
When this poor communication advances, no one is able to communicate their feelings and all their needs. The relationship reaches a dead end because depression has become the guide of their paths.
Overall, nobody can have functional relationship if one is suffering from depression. The things you and your partner love wouldn’t be enjoyable and satisfying anymore.
When this depression reaches high levels, it creates a breach that most of the time cannot be mended. The relationship is over due to the disconnection and dissatisfaction.
Some people recommend couple therapy before reaching this point. This is a very critical moment. And the faster you act, the better the chances.
What experts recommend
First, dression is a treatable condition. When it’s identified early, you have more room for success.
Having said that, let’s see what specialists in the area recommend:
Do what you love. You’re giving yourself a great dose of pleasure when you engage in activities you enjoy. This removes the possibility of being approached by the shadow of depression.
The most qualify people to dignose and prescribe treatment are professional in psycologicial the area. Whoever you choose, be careful when someone prescribe medications.
Usually the use of pharmaceutical drugs do more harm than good. If a professional prescribes drugs, look for a second opinion.
Exercises and a good nutrition have a good impact in your mental health. When you feel confortable with body and all his functions, you’re more inclined to have a positive attitude.
Meditation and other ways of relaxation
Techniques of meditation are a great tool to dispell sad thoughts. They’re also good to improve your physical and mental health.
Support from friends and family
If you have the chance to join a supportive group in your local community or get close to members of your family that truly want the best for you, don’t doubt it. Do it!
Sometimes, when you’re around people that are full of positive energy, it can be contagious. Take advantage of the opportunity and be part of a group of happy people who enjoy life.
What Psychologists point out
Depression has been studied a lot. And psychologists have reached common grounds. Let’s review some key points:
As stablished, it can be treated. There are treatments that include therapy, medication (natural medicine is the best option) and life style changes, which are very important.
It’s a complex and mental condition
No matter who we are, we all can suffer from depression at some point in our life. And depression can come from different angles, depending on various factors such as biological, social, so on.
It’s not a weakness
Contrary to what some people believe, depression is not tied to our flaws. It’s an outright medical condition that anyone can get.
Affect people’s lives
People with depression not also suffer in their own hell. They people around them are affected too, specially the loved ones since it influences your life at home and among friends.
It can be treated even when it’s chronic
Those who suffer from chronic depression can have a quality life as long as they continue with their treatment, and above all things, maintain the desire to go on.
Should I look for help for my girlfriend without telling her?
This is a sensible and complex take. But no matter if you want to be proactive and look help for her, you must encourage her to open to the possibility of seeking help.
And whe she is ready, you’re going to be there to offer support and accompany her in every step.
The most important in this situation is not to force her. Otherwise, she won’t open up. Give her time but also propose solutions constantly.
Now, in a legal matter, it’s not so good for you if you seek help without her authorization. For better or worse, it’s a violation of privacy even if you have a romantic relationship with her.
Under the law, you’re not legally attached to one another to make decisions of behalf of her sake, and that irrevocably includes her health.
However, you can consult professionals to get information about depression and then provide support and guidance to your girlfriend.
Should her parents intervine?
You should do it even if you’re not close to her family. For a parent, it can be very heartbreaking to watch his daughter be consumed by depression.
That is why, knowing that early treatment is essential, a parent would appreciate knowing what his daughter is suffering from as soon as possible.
Of course, parents like other people, should not force their will on her. They have to respect her autonomy and wait until she’s ready to make her decision.
The hardest thing that makes people afflict themselves behind depression is the inability to cope with past traumatic experiences.
Some of these experiences include:
- Physical and sexual abuse.
- Emotional abuse.
- Loss of loved ones.
- Lack of support.
Once trauma has sheltered in the person’s mind, depression kicks in, causing havoc.
- Negative thoughts: Everything in the mind of the person becomes bad. Her perception about the world turns bleak.
- Out of control emotions: Trauma affects the ability of the person to regulate her emotions.
- Brain chemistry: The changes in the brain due to trauma can change mood and jeorpadize general health.
- Social support: When the trauma becomes very lasting, a person may lose the support of loved ones, contributing to the feeling of isolation.
Naturally, this is not a recipe for depression. Not all people who experience trauma falls into it. Nevertheless, in most cases, people who suffer from depression have experienced traumatic episodes in their lives.
In the case of your girlfriend, you should help her find professional help in the specialty of trauma survivors.
Some people with depression can acquire what is called learned helplessness. This is when trauma makes you feel hopeless about the current situation and the future.
There’s also a condition trauma can cause that we should never ignore. And that is PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder). The symptoms of this condition are devastating in many cases, leading some people to take their own life to end the suffering.
How to deal with a depressed girlfriend
Since this is a person you care so much about, you must act and do what is in your power to help her.
Here are some steps:
Try to convince her to seek help
Do not impose anything. That’s going to create a lot of pressure. But you need to try to make her see – in a natural way – her destructive path.
It’s something difficult to achieve, especially because you want to be straight and make her see a doctor as soon as possible. But you must let her decide the timing. Meanwhile, be patient and supportive.
Learn about the depression
If you’re equipped with useful information about this mental illness, you could be of good help. That’s going to give you an overall idea of what she’s going through, which is helpful because you will have some tools that you can use.
Promote healthy habits
One of your duty as her boyfriend is to encourage her to adopt habits that contribute to improve her mood.
Motivate her to eat healthy, work out and do activities she loves before depression came.
Listen and don’t judge
The least that she needs is for you to judge her. Sadness is the predominant feeling. You should not contribute to increase it.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t point out what’s wrong. But you get to do it in a constructive way. Let her know that there’s something wrong while counting on you to fix it.
Be there for her not only for emotional support. You can also help her with the daily tasks. There’s a chance that she could appreciate your presence.
This is good for her mind. It makes her forget about the sadness and helplessness.
Do not neglet yourself
There’s a one rule for you. Even though you want the best for her, don’t let her depression drag you down.
Helping someone with depression can be exhausting. It leaves you without energy, and above all things, your mind can absorb her sad perception of the world.
What happens if she doesn’t want to be saved?
She will continue with her self-destruction way. And if you stick with her, she can drag you down. But as already explained, it’s up to you. Just don’t let yourself be driven into depression.
You can fight to help her if you decide to stick with her. But don’t let her depression poison you.
Is it possible for her to overcome depression on her own without medication or therapy
Yes, absolutely. Depression is a terrible mental condition that in most cases it requires professional help. But even so, all human beings have the ability to master the mind and reject negative thoughts.
What normally happens is that trauma and bad experiences in our lives tend to make a dent in our consciousness, and therefore shape our perception of the world, making it dark and hopeless.
And since we are beings emotionally susceptible to certain events, it inevitably leaves traces. That is the reason why most people need support and professional help to overcome depression.
What are the common signs and symptoms of depression in a person?
There are many. Some of them are: Recurrent sadness, lack of interest, fatigue, constant suicide thoughts, withdrawal from social interaction, feelings of guilt, loss of sexual desire, alcoholism and drug use, sleeping too much, etc.
Is depression genetic, and could it affect my girlfriend’s children in the future?
Not at all. It depends on life choices and personal experiences. You could have a family member that has suffered from depression, but it doesn’t mean that it will pass to your children.
Although, anyone can fall into depression if you live surround people that have negative and depressed attitude about life. Your mind could suck up this toxic environment and make you susceptible to it.
How can I differentiate between normal sadness and depression in my girlfriend?
Depending on certain changes in the behavior of your depressed girlfriend, you can somehow discern between the two if your take a careful look at some factors such as: duration, intensity, productivity and physical symptoms.
When you go through a period of sadness, it doesn’t last long and has a low intensity. It also doesn’t stop you from performing at your work and other activities. And most importantly, it doesn’t affect you physically.
As stated throughout the article, depression is a mental condition that not only affects one but also the people around. But it’s treatable!
So, if your girlfriend is suffering from it, remember to:
- Convince her to seek help.
- Learn as much as you can about depression.
- Encourage her to adopt healthy habits.
- Listening to her.
- Support her.
- Don’t let depression to drag you down.
Also, never ever, for any reason at all, force therapy or any other treatment on her. In order to get her out of it successfully, she must have the desire to overcome it.