If you turn on the radio it’s likely you’ll hear a few love songs at the top of the charts and if you are searching for a movie to watch there’s a whole section of romantic comedies to choose from. There’s even a holiday dedicated to love! We live in a society where dating sites are plentiful and people enjoy talking about love- but one topic you don’t hear people talking about often is how mental illness can change the dynamics of a relationship. Depression in particular can cause a happy relationship to turn upside down- complicating things for both members involved.
Depression really takes a toll on a person and can change the whole dynamic of a relationship. A person loses interest in things they once found enjoyable. Because someone suffering from depression is so consumed by their mental state, they often neglect the needs of others, which can be draining and frustrating for the other person in the relationship. Roles in the relationship may shift as the person without depression takes on a caregiving role- ensuring that the one suffering is staying on top of things like medications and meals.
So what can be done? First off, it’s important to recognize that depression is in fact, a real illness with many complications, and its influences often aren’t rational. It is essential for the depressed individual to seek help and express these feelings to a professional. If your loved one is suffering, it’s important to remember a loving embrace or a few words of reassurance can go a long way. A couple should work together to find the treatment that best fits for the individual along with the option of couples counseling (Ojarikri, 2014).
And finally, it is important for the non-depressed individual to remember to take care of them-self. Think of it as being on an airplane and how flight attendants instruct everyone in an emergency to put on their own oxygen mask before assisting others. An individual can’t help others if they aren’t stable enough within their own emotions and wellbeing. It’s important in any relationship for both members to have hobbies they enjoy separately and maintain social connections outside their romantic relationship.
Reiterating society’s affinity for love- unlike it says in the popular song by The Beatles, love isn’t all you need when dealing with depression in a relationship- but it can help show support for the one suffering. Although romance and depression can be a complicated duo, there are ways to help maintain a compassionate and healthy relationship. Starting off with mutual respect and consideration for each other helps when life’s less than picture perfect side takes over. Small gestures and working together towards treatment can help to minimize the harmful effects depression can bring and make the relationship stronger in the end.
Ojarikri, D., Dr. (2014, August 19). Depression: Its impact upon the couple relationship. Retrieved February 21, 2016, from http://www.counselling-directory.org.uk/counsellor-articles/depression-its-impact-upon-the-couple-relationship