Depression builds walls around people and between people. When someone you love has been dragged inside those walls, there can be a distance between you both that feels relentless. Not in the way you both want to be anyway. The symptoms of depression exist on a spectrum. Not everyone who has depression will have a formal diagnosis, so knowing what to watch out for can help to make sense of the changes you might notice. Depression looks like a withdrawal.
It feels that way too. Depression sucks the life out of life. When depression bites, everything becomes hard. Life starts to hurt.
Those who are bitten stop looking forward to things. They stop engaging and they stop enjoying things, even the things they used to love. Here are some ways to fight for them, beside them and for the times the fight has to be theirs, behind them:. If people with depression could be happy, they would be. The hopelessness, emptiness and loneliness is relentless. If they knew how to be any other way, they would be.
The helplessness of loving someone with depression can be frustrating, exhausting and lonely. Depression steals people. If the depression has been around for long enough, you might feel a sense of grief.
Be kind to yourself and do something that replenishes you. People with depression already see themselves as a burden, and anything that inflames that might cause them to withdraw even more. Let them know that you love that version of them too — the one that has nothing to say, or plenty to say but no will to say it. They have to be.
The pain and hopelessness of depression is immense and to keep existing day after day under the weight of that takes an almighty fight, fuelled by almighty strength and courage. You know the ones. Than takes the strength of a warrior to keep pushing way down, and getting on with life. Eventually, when people have been strong for too long the armour will crack. Depression hurts, but it makes sense. For someone who is being caned by depression, there is no positive. The view of reality is shaped by a lifetime of experience and sometimes, the way people see the world is exactly the way the world is for them.
If there was a way to do that, they would have done it themselves by now. This will probably explode your own feelings of helplessness, but reworking things towards a positive angle will ease your helplessness, not theirs. So is the pain and the person of that. Talk about it shes them for sure, but try to persuade the conversation in a better direction after a while if you can.
Common ground will shrink the distance between you. What I will do is be here for you for as long as it takes. Depression can be different for everyone. When people are sad they generally have an idea of why. At a time when people need connection the most, depression forces distance. Do everything you can not to let it. Connection and positive feelings strengthen the brain against depression, and exercise can cause the same changes in the brain as antidepressants.
The problem is that the very nature of depression will hold people back from doing any of these.
Depression is there to nurture withdrawal, remember. It does this by stealing motivation, and creating exhaustion.
Be tender, gentle and loving and reintroduce them to life, connection, and positive feelings. Thoughts, feelings and behaviours are intimately connected. A change in one will eventually lead to the other but the change is unlikely come from the person with depression. Out of the three, thoughts and feelings are the toughest to change. Initiate walks, dinners, holidays — anything that has the potential to create positive feelings.
Take their hand and lead them there gently. There is nothing abnormal about the symptoms of depression. What makes these very human experiences lead to a diagnosis of depression is a question of degree.
People with depression experience the same we all experience, but at a different intensity, duration, or cluster of symptoms. Depression rarely takes hold of just one person. When depression settles into someone, helplessness, fear and sadness bleed through the walls it builds around that person and into the lives of those who love them.
There is always a way through depression but it takes an almighty fight. Few things are as powerful as human connection and anything you can do to nurture that will help to put back what depression strips away. I have been dating my boyfriend for 8 months now. A month before we started dating he lost his father.
'than': what follows it and why
We met and had an instant connection, we talked for hours and hours and everything felt so natural. We talked about the future, and I thought that this was my happy ending. About 5 months into the relationship, his depression and grief set in. We had a couple discussions about it and I tried to listen to him whenever he was able to talk about it.
He slowly started to withdraw from me physically. And then around 7 Months I got frustrated and upset with him. And I gave myself a couple days to collect my thoughts before reaching out to him again, he was short with me and Avoided meeting with me. Said we would talk later. There was no explanation nothing. I gave him some space because I know how hard the holidays were during times like these. After the holidays I reached out saying I would come by to visit to get something from his house. He was always very supportive, caring and loving.
And for that to shut off so abruptly is hard to comprehend. How do you know when to walk away? He is so wonderful our relationship was so amazing.
He has depression and anxiety but it got worst when his grandfather passed away. Just floating, hoping our relationship is still something to fight for. We started arguing a lot and just feeling sad for 3 months now ever since his grandfather passed.
I want to make this work. I really do. Thanks for the venting hehe.
I pushed mines away, maybe for good and I regret it everyday. Hi Chris, Thanks for this reminder. You are so right about trying too hard. I know I have done this a lot and am trying to stop. For one thing, my husband has told me how guilty he feels about putting me through this hell with him. The more I hover over him the more guilty he probably feels.
If I can let go, do my own thing and get some enjoyment out of life, he feels better, knowing that support is always there if he needs it. Easier said than done though. Hi Chris, how much time is the space needed to be given? Is there a good timeline to be measured?