You are not the cause of their depression.
When your partner is suffering from a bout of depression, it can be difficult to understand that they aren’t acting this way because of something you did. The same can be said for anxiety. Your partner isn’t suffering from an anxiety attack because they don’t trust you, they’re suffering from an illness.
Assuming that you are the root cause of their struggles can lead your partner to feel you don’t understand their struggles. In the same light, assuming you’re the root cause will make you feel upset. Their daily struggle exists independently from your relationship.
The easiest way to make your partner feel loved and secure during these times is to recognize that their illness is just that: an illness. Treat them with the same care you would if he or she had a common cold.
You can’t fix their anxiety or depression.
Many make the mistake of taking on their partner’s illness and driving themselves to the edge as a result. Don’t spend your time trying to fix your spouse’s mental health. Simply support them. If that doesn’t come naturally and you’re not sure how to react to their anxiety or depression, ask them what to do.
Sit down with your partner and talk about their triggers. Ask them what the symptoms of their depression are, what situations make them feel anxious, and ask how they want to be supported. Some may want you to stay close, while others need some time alone to sort it out. This will allow you to understand how you can support them. Your partner will appreciate the initiative you’re taking to understand their individual needs.
Depression and anxiety can inspire a lot of unplanned situations. These diseases can prevent a sufferer from functioning normally. There is a real toll on the body and the mind, leading to canceled plans or last-minute changes.
Understand that this is not because your partner wishes to hurt you, but rather, they’re struggling to win a mental battle. As a result, they’re exhausted. Do not take their illness personally. Instead, compromise with your partner. If they are plans you can’t abandon, communicate with your partner.
Don’t hold their lack of attendance against them. When times are their darkest, order take out instead of going out to the restaurant. This is especially true with a new relationship, as you’ll be in the process of learning how your partner’s mental illness affects their day-to-day life.
Don’t backseat your emotional needs.
The last thing your partner wants is for you to echo their depression. Taking care of a person who is suffering from anxiety or depression can be exhausting on you, too. Don’t sacrifice self-care. Continue your hobbies, hang out with your friends, and spend time with your family.
Likewise, don’t close yourself off from your partner because you think your bad day will add to their depression. Your partner still wants and very much needs to hear how you feel, too. Though it may not be the time to disclose your day when your spouse is suffering from an anxiety attack, don’t forget to open up to them.
Express yourself. If you’re struggling to deal with their symptoms, talk to them. If you’re struggling to deal with your workplace, talk to them. People with anxiety and depression do not want to miss out on the human experience.
At the same time, keep your friendships and family ties strong (and encourage them to do the same). Having a strong support network helps you and your spouse stay grounded during hard times and day-to-day struggles.
Believe in your partner.
When you’re dating someone who suffers intensely from anxiety or depression, it’s easy to get into the habit of blaming all of your relationship’s issues on the elephant in the room. Though it’s important to recognize that you’re not your partner’s therapist, it’s equally important to participate in their healing journey by supporting them to maintain healthy coping mechanisms.
Don’t blame every little issue or reaction of your partner on their illness. Consider every incident separately. This actively shows your partner that you’re always there to hear them out — free of judgment.
Even if your partner’s depression or anxiety never subsides fully, there is the possibility for every sufferer to minimize and maintain their mental health by finding their unique solution. Support your partner in their journey. Let them know that even if there will be down days ahead, you hope there will be fewer of them.