Ask Aryssa: I’m Dating Someone With Depression

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Dear Aryssa, I’m dating someone with depression and feel drained. Any advice?

When you are dating someone with depression or any other mental health issues it can have a huge impact on not only the relationship itself but your own mental and emotional health. Both you and your partner have to make a major effort to find a balance in caring for their needs as well as yours. When you are making sacrifices for your partner without creating space to care for yourself it can be extremely overwhelming. Having measures in place to help manage the stress of the situation can be essential in your well-being. 

Understand the Facts

A key place to start is with understanding your partner’s depression as much as possible. Do research to get a better understanding of the struggles of the disorder in general and then identify the ways in which depression manifests for your partner. The better you know their symptoms and triggers the better you will be able to prepare to work through those struggles together. Knowing patterns and what to expect can be helpful in managing and protecting your own energy. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can provide more information on depression and how to find support services. 

Assessing your partner’s understanding of their own mental health status is also important. If they are not aware of the severity of their state or how it may be affecting you, it will become difficult to work together to manage the situation.  

Find Support 

Secondly, find support outside of your relationship with others who are able to relate to the realities of your situation. Having an outlet where you can be vulnerable and release all of your frustrations can help with restoring your energy, allowing you to better show up for your partner. 

You may be able to find this care in therapy or through support groups online. Talking to others who share similar experiences can make the weight of your circumstances seem more manageable. 

Find Alone Time

Lastly, try to build in regular time alone in your daily or weekly schedule. It can be difficult to find alone time in a relationship, especially when your partner needs extra support, but it is essential to your own mental health. Something as small as taking a 10-minute walk each morning on your own can be helpful. Knowing that you will have time to be with yourself free of any responsibility is essential self-care for all. Building time alone into your routine creates a boundary so your partner knows when you are available to them. 

There may not be an easy road ahead, but as long as both you and your partner are committed to your own and one another’s well-being, there is hope to build a life where depression doesn’t define your relationship but is just a part of your journey. 

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