Receive LOVE in your mailbox

Try our weekly newsletter with amazing tips to bring and retain love in your life

How Not To Lose Yourself While Living With A Depressed Partner

Nain (32) had her floodgate of tears opened, when she was informed by her married boyfriend that they could no longer be a couple, out of the blue. The first thought that came to her mind was that she would die. She couldn’t understand why he had suddenly cut off from her. She tried to call him, sent him messages on social media, contacted common friends, but all she was met with was a stony silence. When it was clear that her boyfriend had no intentions of getting back with her, she had a breakdown and even contemplated suicide.

Suggested read: Dos and don’ts of dealing with a depressed partner

She knew she just had to deal with the grief and get past it. But as days passed, she lay in her bed day after day, crying, and thoughts of killing herself entered her mind regularly. Her bed was not made for days and as she lived alone, not many people noticed. But when she missed work for a week and had not replied to any of her mails, her friends became concerned and finally decided to go check on her, and that’s when they encountered this unkempt, haggard, emaciated apparition they knew as their friend. While they tried to cheer her up and assisted in getting her house in order, there was no improvement in her state, even after a month. Her parents hurriedly air rushed to be by her side, but even then there wasn’t any improvement. She had crying episodes which lasted for weeks, barely ate or communicated, and wallowed in finding answers which she never got.

sad woman_New_Love_Times

Image source: Flickr

Nain, ladies and gentlemen, is suffering from depression.

Whether depression is hereditary or appears suddenly still remains within the scope of ongoing research. The important thing to understand is that it is recognized as a mental illness with very specific symptoms and treatment. As a mental health professional, I can say with some conviction, that depression is very misunderstood and underrated and doesn’t get the importance it deserves. Most dismiss it as a passing phase which goes away with time. I wish it were so casual and superficial.

It is not.

Depression usually occurs when there is a sudden major emotional upheaval within the immediate environment of the person. When this person is unable to realistically process this change in a rational manner and, instead, is overwhelmed by this change, the person manufactures coping strategies to understand this change in a manner they consider as appropriate. One can succumb to extreme emotional stress, continuous crying, intense brooding, and irregular sleeping hours, almost giving up on eating, unkempt appearance, hygiene, and in some cases suicide or even homicide.

depressed woman_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

When a family member or spouse suffers from it, the difficulties are further compounded. It is one of the most frustrating and difficult things, living with someone with depression and not lose yourself, or in some cases, just give up altogether.

Often, articles talk about the impact on the person suffering from depression but forget about the ripple effects it causes in the lives of the loved one or the person who is in close proximity with a depressed person. It is incredibly hard to stay focused. Believe me, it isn’t easy at all.

Assess your own feelings

Please understand that depression is not a here today, gone tomorrow, disease.I It is real and here to stay. It is one of the toughest things to watch a loved one suffer from this disease. Suddenly, you find yourself in a completely new world where your loved one has become a total stranger. In such a situation, it is advisable to do a reality check on how you are going to handle this journey from an emotional standpoint. Here are some questions you might do well to ask yourself:

  • How am I equipped to handle this?
  • Do I know enough about this disease to understand it better?
  • Who will look after me?
  • What can I do to make this better?
  • After a point, who do I turn to for help?

Suggested read: Why Pratyusha Banerjee’s death is a stark reminder of India’s most silent killer

Some tips on how to get through this:

1. Understand more about what the disease is

woman working on her laptop_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Firstly, it would be helpful to gain more information on depression. I recommend that you read up on the various types of depression and its symptoms. It helps to understand to a large extent what are the causes and manifestations, and this in turn, will help you understand why the person in your immediate lifescape is behaving thus. While it might completely baffle, sadden, and annoy you, to the person who is depressed, this is completely rational. Reading up on this will help you get a handle over the rather strange behavior patterns of the person who is depressed. It will also help you understand that it is a disease and not get overwhelmed. Sometimes depression takes a person away from reality, so please don’t try a rational approach, because you will only hit a wall.

2. Be supportive

Try to read this as having extreme patience. Even if the person is depressed, doesn’t mean that the person cannot perceive your energy of impatience and annoyance. They can, and they do. By supportive, I also mean to be empathetic (not sympathetic. There is a big difference between the two), and really try to get with the person and why they are going through these episodes. To a supposed normal person, being dumped is a part of life or perhaps losing a loved one in an accident, but to a fragile person, this could be the tipping point.

When Sharana (24), who suffers from anorexia and is constantly depressed that she will put on weight and bloat (in actuality, she is terribly underweight and is a borderline case – she is also on a suicide watch), is told by her mother to “just freaking eat… why are you harassing me …why don’t you eat… just eat!” in an exasperated manner. She burst out crying and tried to commit suicide. The depressed person is already fragile; at least, you need to stay strong! That is the reason why it is important that you not lose yourself and stay focused when living with someone with depression.

3. Reach out to a qualified professional at the earliest

women talking_New_Love_Times

Image source: Flickr

Like I have mentioned earlier, waiting it out with depression might actually make it worse! Do reach out to a qualified mental health professional at the earliest so that they can guide you and start treatment immediately. Sometimes plain therapy will help; often, your healer might recommend medication to keep the depression stable and sometimes both will be recommended. Of course, this depends on the severity of the symptoms. The important thing is to reach out soon. Oftentimes, the therapist (depending on the individual case) might recommend a family member sit in on the sessions, what we call family counseling. Do support the therapist in this, no matter how hard it might seem as it will help everyone involved.

4. Trying to stay afloat for yourself

This is the most difficult part in this whole process. Depression threatens to drown the patient and their supporters. Firstly, please don’t blame yourself for what has happened.I If we were masters of all events that have or are yet to occur in our lives, life as we know it would be very different. It just does not work that way, and every so often, life does throw us an unexpected curveball. That is the way this process has been unfortunately designed. Instead of asking why me?, do get all the support you can get. This, like any other illness, will test everything you have in your emotional arsenal and it is easy to give up on yourself and your loved one. Like in an aircraft security announcement, the hostess tells you to put on the oxygen mask on you first before helping others; similarly, it is important that you need help and support first. How you plan to get this, would depend on you.

Suggested read: Arguing with your partner can make you FAT, says Science!

5. A special tip from me

depressed woman_New_Love_Times

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Life treats all of us to strange, sometimes frightening and sometimes amusing experiences. Such is life. I personally believe that no matter what experiences life offers us, a little thing called love balances all. It really does. This fascinating and unfathomable emotion is also one of the most powerful, and has abilities to transform most anything. With love, we are able to encompass with huge understanding a loved one’s depressive episodes; with love, we are able to understand that this is a trial placed by life to bring out the suppressed love out of you; with love, we can understand that this is all you can do for the loved one and now the onus is on them to recover and heal. Love will teach you to stay focused and not lose yourself or give up; just by standing mute and offering support is also love.

This is a hard but surmountable challenge, and patience and an acceptance of the situation and outside help will make it somewhat easier. If you are living with someone with depression, or have a loved one who is depressed, or you have been through a similar situation and managed to get to a better place, share your stories with us.

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
How Not To Lose Yourself When Living With Someone With Depression
Are you living with someone with depression? It's hard not to lose YOURSELF in such a situation. Here's what you need to do to keep yourself healthy.
Ranjit Kale

Ranjit Kale

I have been in the field of mind analysis with almost 22 years now and straddled working with corporate giants globally and helping people find their inner equilibrium 'to be ALL that they can be'. My corporate experience with MNC's like ITC Hotels Division, Zee Telefilms, Citicorp, among several others had me don the hat of a leadership and managerial intervention specialist and as a psychologist I have donned the hat of a life coach, a healer, a mirror to people's innermost self. Through my journey I have learned and evolved and understood spiritual aspects of human existence and hence think of myself not just as a psychologist but really a psychospiritualist. Founder: