Supporting a partner with depression can be a daunting and overwhelming experience. Whilst everyone experiences low mood and sadness, depression is a mental illness in which an individual feels an intense sadness, or numbness, for a prolonged period of time (weeks or months), often without knowing why. In other cases, depression may have an identifiable cause, or may be the combination of several life events or continuing difficulties. Depression is one of the most common mental health problems, with one in five people in Australia experiencing depression at some stage in their lives.
So, what does depression look like? Depression is characterised by low mood and is considered to be a serious illness when:
Depression can affect a person’s thoughts, behaviours, feelings, and physical well-being. Common signs which may indicate you or your partner has depression include:
It can be scary and frustrating to watch a loved one struggle with depression, particularly when you are unable to improve their mood despite your best efforts. Attempting to support your partner through a period of depression can also take a toll on your relationship, as it is not uncommon for them to withdraw or inflict their feelings on to you.
If you or your partner are experiencing depression, it is unlikely to disappear on its own. However, depression is very treatable, and there are a wide range of options to combat depression and maintain long-term wellbeing. If you seek support for yourself, you will also be better equipped to support your partner. You may also benefit from seeking shared support to build a stronger, more positive relationship.
The practitioners at VCPS that are specialised in depression can help by: