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What to Do When Dating Someone With Depression

Though necessary in any relationship, communication and other skills can be helpful when dating someone with depression.

Dating is hard; dating when depressed is even harder. Depression isn't just feeling down in the dumps or blue; it's an entire distortion of one's perspective of reality. What might bring some joy becomes disaster. Fun becomes a chore. Waking up takes too much energy, but laying in bed becomes imprisonment.

For someone dating a person suffering from depression, it can be hard. A depressed person may not act in a way you'd expect. It isn't a normal experience, but it is important to know a few things when you start dating someone with depression.

Do Not Take On Their Problems

It is easy to feel drained or down around a depressed person. Their sadness can be draining. It can smother you. Their gloomy outlook on a bright day can put a damper on your mood.

It is important to remember that you are your own person, even if you are dating someone. Give yourself time to remember the brightness of life. Do things for yourself. Keep yourself bright and pure, and, hopefully, some of your light may rub off on your depressed partner, rather than the other way around. Dating a depressed person should not make you depressed.

Patience is a Virtue

It is important to be patient when dating someone with depression. So often, they may be unwilling to get out of bed or do something. With any ordinary person, it may be infuriating, waiting for them to rise up and do the things you want to do.

Just remember that this person is not in a right state of mind. Their entire world view is distorted due to their brains being sick. You wouldn't drag a person with the flu outside, right? Because they're sick... physically. A mental illness is just an illness of the mind. It's equally debilitating, but just the signs aren't physical. 

Be patient. Try to ease them out of their depression stupor. 

Show Them Love

Artwork by Assa Ariyoshi 

A depressed person probably thinks they're the worst. They're scum. The only reason anyone would want to be with them is because they feel bad for them. Clearly, this mindset hurts you, as that implies that they don't believe you really love them. Yes, it's illogical... but remember, depression is a mental illness. It distorts. It twists. They don't want to think that. It's the illness making them think that.

So kick that illness's ass by showing your love. Give them hugs. Chocolate. Do silly things with them to show that you care. They need your warmth to take them out of this awful mindset that's ruining their quality of life.

Listen to Them

A depressed person's thoughts are not always rational. At least, not to a person without depression. So sometimes the best course is not to try to figure out their depressed mindset, but just let them ramble out whatever dark thoughts are crossing their mind.

Talking helps. Listening helps. On one hand, the depressed person gets a chance to unload all the garbage weighing them down. On the other hand, having you listening validates their sense of importance. You care enough to hear, and you aren't leaving. That is a ton for so many people suffering from depression. And who knows? Your perspective may dispel some of their inner turmoil.

You are Not Responsible

This is a big one. It may be easy to take on your partner's problems after awhile. You put so much effort into helping them... but, at the end of the day, the only person responsible for their own mental health is the person themselves. You are not responsible.

That's a hard thing to swallow, especially if you really love that depressed person. You can help. You can aid them. But, at the end of the day, you are not their psychiatrist. You are not their doctor. You're their partner. You're dating this poor person with depression. You are not becoming them.

Just remember that their pain is theirs. You can help, but you cannot cure it.

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