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If you've been ignorant of depression all your life and are dating someone who's now battling this disorder, it's definitely going to be a little daunting for you at first. It's not going to be easy, but you've chosen to be there for them because well, you love them. Seeing someone you love and adore for who they are, talk about themselves with such misery and incompetence is going to be painful. They have an uncanny yet strong belief about themselves being flawed in this faultless world. This is certainly not the reality, but to them, it seems like they've finally learned the truth.
Depression is a slow poison. People with depression often isolate themselves and eventually shut themselves down. Logical thinking does not have to find a room in a depressed mind. They're in a dark place and no matter how desperately you have already tried to show them the face of the light, it has never worked. This is because they've convinced themselves that this dark place is their new home.
No matter how much you try to logically reason out and shove them the reality, it's going to be a waste. Even though you come from a place of love, to them you'll be just another demon in this monstrous world. This would then lead to an argument between the two of you and finally them distancing from the only person they felt connected to, you.
Instead of trying to cure their problem, start by just being there for them. Listen, understand and empathise. Know that they're struggling, really hard. The energy that is used by you for the entire day, is used by them to do a minor activity like getting up to eat. They're tired all the time and don't have the will to even continue doing their daily regimes. Here are 5 things you should know when you're dating someone with depression to stay connected to them while keeping your own mental health at check.
1. Depression Is Not Just A Trivial Feeling Of Sadness
Depression and sadness are not two peas in a pod. Sadness is a mere emotion while depression is an abnormal mental state that affects everything you do, literally everything. Depression is like a colour blind person, who cannot enjoy the beauty of life. A person who has depression, becomes numb to different emotions a human feels eventually lowering the thresholds of life. Enthusiasm lessens, so does excitement and motivation to enjoy life.
2. Don't Blame The Illness For Everything
If you and your loved one are having an argument and they express they aren't happy with an aspect of your relationship, don't automatically assume it's because of depression. Also, if you are having a fight and blame them for being depressed, you've gone too far. Don't make their depression an easy way out of arguments, this will push them further away from you and make their struggle even harder.
3. It's Not You
Naturally, when you see your loved one in pain, you start to question your own actions. This is a mistake made by most partners which in turn starts affecting their own mental health. Remember that your partner's depression has got nothing to do with you. Don't think about where you went wrong or how your efforts to keep them happy went in vain. It's not you.
4. Accept Their Way Of Seeing Things
When someone is depressed, it's obvious that they aren't going to take things as they come. There may be times when you would say something out of sheer care for them, but their mind, that is brilliant at playing games might just soak in negativity from your words. It's alright. If this happens, try telling them your perspective and if it turns into a fight, try not to be defensive.
5. Be Their Cheerleader
Know that your partner is going through something which is most probably the toughest time of their life. Depression isn't a choice. Know that your partner is doing their best to get rid of it so phrases like 'get over it' or 'it's all in your head' is not going to make anything better. Be there for them and tell them how proud you are of them for being so strong in such a tough time and help them heal.