During a depressive episode, your marriage or committed relationship can feel as if it’s under a cloud, with negative energy, loss of intimacy, and an absence of regular social outings. Even so, there are ways for you to sustain your bond while also supporting your partner. Each of the ideas listed here were offered by loved ones who have experienced bipolar depression and know what they need from their partners.
#1 Empower Them
When your loved one is experiencing depression, you might feel compelled to assume the position of gatekeeper or act as an extension of their health practitioner. Allow your partner the space to manage their own wellness plan. This doesn’t mean leaving them to feel abandoned; it’s about showing them that you trust them to take responsibility for their own care and diagnosis. Be there to help when help is needed.
#2 Practice Patience
Develop a habit of compassion by listening actively and patiently—both more frequently and more deeply, and without reacting or judging. Listen to learn instead of to respond. Having patience also means that when you’re feeling discouraged, keep in mind that depression does not last forever, and that finding the right treatment protocol may take time. Keep your hope alive; after all, stability is possible.
#3 Mind Your Defenses
Trying to not take things personally can be one of the more difficult habits to master, but it may also be one of the most important. Aim to detach from hurtful actions or criticisms by recognizing that these are symptoms of the diagnosis. Achieve this, and you will be better able to provide compassion. Of course, it is still important to hold certain boundaries in place; those can be agreed upon during an open conversation when the time, and mood, is right. Read more >>