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  • Sara

Talking to Your Partner About Depression

Updated: Sep 12, 2022

If you have experienced depression, you know that it feels as if it makes just about everything harder, including romantic relationships. Depression is known to cause people to feel hopeless, decreasing energy levels and leading to less joy in once enjoyable activities – none of which is going to help you maintain a happy and fun relationship. Plus, it can make us feel more irritable, on edge, and less likely to want to socialize at all. The good news is that you have the power to talk with your partner about your depression and how it impacts you. By helping your partner understand the challenges you’re facing, you can feel less alone while developing an even stronger bond by feeling as if someone safe and secure has your back. You can also pick the time and place that this happens, without putting any pressure on yourself to do it in a certain manner and within a certain timeframe.

If you’re feeling worried about talking to your partner about depression, keep in mind it is incredibly common. There are hundreds of thousands of people that are affected by depression globally and it is nothing to be ashamed of. Just like any other illness, depression is largely not within your control; it is a result of various chemical imbalances and environmental impacts. Take some time to remind yourself not to feel guilt or shame over what you’re experiencing.

Different people disclose their depression in different ways. Some people are comfortable with discussing it directly early on in a partnership, while others need more time to feel comfortable sharing. You could ask your partner if they have ever experienced depression and perhaps this could open the door for a deeper conversation. If you’re in therapy, you could begin by sharing an insight that you had during a recent session. You can also rely on articles, videos or any other form of media to help explain what depression is.

When sharing, it can be helpful to highlight the way your depression affects you, mentally, emotionally and physically (since depression affects the mind and body on many levels). For instance, you could explain your symptoms or talk about what you tend to struggle with when they get particularly difficult to manage. For example, perhaps you tend to isolate yourself, or you are quick to anger. Informing your partner of these things can better equip them to support you when that does happen.

Therapy can be an important step for coming up with ways to effectively manage symptoms of depression and strategies for disclosing these symptoms to loved ones. Your therapist can help you develop a plan for when depressive episodes feel unmanageable. Oftentimes, this will include a meaningful self-care plan, safety plan, suggestions for mindful awareness of the body and managing aches and pains, among other helpful interventions. In learning more about what you’re going through and putting into place coping mechanisms that can help, you’ll feel more in control of your symptoms and able to share.


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