What to do when your Partner is depressed

how_to_help_depressed_person– It is important that the non-depressed partner realize that depression can be selfish and manipulative. Depressed partners build a safety net around themselves. They will grant their non-depressed partner access to their cocoon-like existence when they’re up to it, but will often inappropriately rebuff the partner at other times. The important issue here is for the non-depressed partner to choose to not take the inappropriate behavior personally. Inappropriateness comes with the territory in depression.

– The non-depressed partner should set clear and specific boundaries. A core symptom of depression is a decrease in energy levels. So it’s acceptable to help out with chores that would ordinarily be the depressed partner’s responsibility, but unacceptable, for example, to place a sick call to their work for them. This crosses the line into enabling, and enabling behaviors fuel co-dependency. When this happens, neither partner is healthy.

– The healthy partner should encourage and support the depressed partner, but resist the urge to badger or chastise them. If the depressed partner is not seeking help for their depression, it is perfectly acceptable to broach the issue of them doing so. However the decision to follow through has to be made by the depressed individual. Patience is the key here, so badgering and chastising behaviors will inevitably lead to the depressed person digging in their heels and resisting any further offers of help.

Joseph Wegmann, R.Ph., LCSW is a licensed clinical pharmacist and a clinical social worker with more than thirty years of experience in the field of psychopharmacology. His diverse professional background in psychopharmacology and counseling affords him a unique perspective on medication management issues. In addition to consulting with numerous psychiatric facilities, he has presented psychopharmacology seminars to thousands of clinicians in 46 states.

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