How Depression Can Affect Your Relationships
If you are suffering from depression, just getting out of bed can feel like an impossible task on most days let alone engaging in conversation or being loving towards someone else. So, imagine the damage it can start to have on your relationships. You don’t want to leave the house, spending time with others is difficult, and the constant self-belittling makes living each day a nightmare. It’s no surprise relationships can break down during this time, as the person on the other side of your relationship, whether this is a friend, a romantic partner or a family member – may not understand what you are going through or even feel as though you are exaggerating your symptoms or just doing it on purpose. Other people may feel like they are being pushed away and as much as they want to remain in your life, the distance you’ve created has made that impossible.
If you feel like you might be facing depression, then read on to consider how this could affect relationships and how you can keep key people in your life by helping them understand how you are feeling.
Going through depression is a tough time; it can dominate every day with negative thoughts and drain you of your energy. This makes visiting family or even responding to calls very hard as all you want to do is stay in bed wrapped up in the negativity you can’t banish. Most families will want to reach out and help you, but being open and honest about your feelings can be difficult and instead, you will close yourself off to them. But, taking a chance and just letting one person in and being honest with them about your depression can make a huge difference. Once you have opened up to one person, letting more family members in will become much more comfortable. Soon enough, you will be surrounded by a whole group of people aware and ready to help you tackle your depression and support you every step of the way.
Depression can cause tension in romantic relationships as the other partner may feel pushed away, unloved or unwanted by the person suffering from depression. As much as they want to stand by you and help you through this tough time, it can get incredibly tiring trying to support and reassure you constantly when they are getting nothing back in terms of positive responses to their help. Arguments could arise as they accuse you of not trying hard enough or you blame them for not being as supportive as they could be, or even blaming yourself as many depression sufferers do. After a time your partner may want to leave the relationship, and their departure could leave you falling deeper into depression.
Avoid the breakdown of your romantic relationships by being open and honest with your partner. This will make it easier for them to support you and for them to communicate their feelings over the situation as well. Communication is key to the survival of any relationship, even those not facing mental health issues. If you see your partner struggling to help you continually, think of other ways you can try and banish your depression. Try to focus on being ‘other person centered’ and take yourself out of your own mind to consider their emotions and feelings. Notice that they too need support and push yourself to take small steps which can really help them see that you are trying hard. Go out of the house for a short walk with them, go for a lunch or dinner date and try to put them first in these activities. Making a routine out of this can help make each week easier and give you something to look forward to. Visiting a therapist to talk through steps you can take and activities you can try is also helpful whether that is alone or as a couples therapy session as it takes the pressure off the two of you and it can be easier to follow the advice of a professional than just trying to muddle through it alone.
When considering how depression can affect your relationships, it is also important to think about the impact it can have on your relationship with work and colleagues. With depression comes an unwillingness to get on with the day; all you want to do is stay in bed and not face the world. Getting to work is the hardest thing of the day, and when you are there, you can’t focus on the tasks and find yourself counting the minutes until you can leave. This will have an adverse effect on your work rate catching the attention of your managers and can even put your position in the company at risk if your bosses think you are lazy or unwilling to work. Even your relationships with colleagues can be strained as you keep to yourself, are quiet in meetings and reluctant to work with others. They may think they have done something wrong or that you are merely rude because you start to drift away from them or ignore them altogether and your lack of productivity might start to put a strain on their workload.
Being open with your boss can help them provide you with the necessary help to overcome your depression and get the best work out of you. They can help connect you to therapists who can help you unpick your emotions and help you start understanding your behaviour. When your colleagues know you are seeking help they can understand the way you have been acting and can become a support network rather than just another worry to face.
Why Therapy Can Help
Therapists are experienced experts in understanding and overcoming depression. By creating a safe space for open and honest communication, they can help you bring forth repressed memories or emotions that are causing the depressive symptoms that affect your daily life. Once you have reached the root of your problems, it then becomes easier to find ways to tackle these symptoms and banish them from your life completely. This can be done in one to one therapy or as part of a couple or group therapy sessions.
In couples therapy, you can work to understand your emotions with your partner, helping make them fully aware of what you are going through and how hard it is to live with depression. Your partner can also express their feelings and how they feel trying to support you during this time. With an outsider’s view on the relationship, the therapist can then help you work to a compromise or resolution on how to work through this rough patch with both of you feeling cared for, loved and supported.
Group therapy is perfect for friends and family who are feeling abandoned due to the symptoms of depression forcing you apart. You can be honest with these people, telling them why you have depression and even revealing secrets you never thought you would be able to tell anyone. This helps them understand you more and acknowledge the depression as an aggressor in your relationship, working against you both in your attempts to solidify your relationship. You can see it as all of you working together to tackle the depression – rather than a them versus you situation.
If you are suffering from depression, seeking family and friends and showing support for your partner can be extremely hard. You shouldn’t just let these symptoms overcome you and destabilise all of your relationships. Seeking therapy can help you repair relationships or create understanding where there was none. If you are interested in learning more about the different types of therapy I offer, then contact me today.